Ings, Buendia, Bailey: Dean Smith may need to do something completely new at Aston Villa

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Journalist Luke Hatfield has suggested that Aston Villa manager Dean Smith could try a different formation in order to get the most out of the attacking players at his disposal.

What did Hatfield say about a potential change in formation at Villa?

Villa made three attacking signings this summer as they brought in Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings for a combined fee of just under £90m. They have been added to the squad to complement Ollie Watkins, who netted 14 goals in his maiden Premier League campaign last term.

However, the quartet have not started a game together so far this season. When asked whether the four players could feature at the same time in the future, Hatfield hinted that the only possible way would be for Smith to change his system, although he is not convinced that this is likely.

He told GIVEMESPORT: “From the start, it’s very hard to see a situation where you would have all four playing unless you’re playing in a straight 4-4-2, which is not something we’ve seen from Dean Smith before. But I mean, never say never.”

What is Dean Smith's preferred formation?

Since taking over at Villa in 2018, Smith has largely used a 4-2-3-1 formation at Villa Park, and it has worked well for him. During his tenure, the club have regained their Premier League status, and have now re-established themselves in the top-flight.

He has shown tactical flexibility in recent weeks, though, switching to a back three on occasions, highlighting how he is open to trying new things, which indicates that the idea of him playing a 4-4-2 could become a reality at some point.

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When could we saw Smith try this new formation?

This potential change won't happen immediately after Villa were recently hit with the news that Bailey is set to be out of action until after the next international break due to injury. Therefore, the earliest we could see all four players starting would be mid-October.

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Still, this could actually turn out to be a good thing for Smith. He now has a little bit of time on his side to ponder whether moving to this formation could work, and he could then try it out next month.

It would undoubtedly be an attacking move on Smith's part to use all four players at the same time, but he may well decide that he needs to be bold if he is going to get Villa challenging for a European place this season.

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