Every football fan in England is delighted to see his club getting a young and promising English manager. After Steve Bruce was sacked, and Thierry Henry chose Monaco over Aston Villa, they appointed Dean Smith as their new manager. Last three seasons with Brentford, Dean Smith always managed to finish in top 10. He brought all the right players and had some amazing results, but he kept losing points against smaller sides. The start of this season was excellent for him and Brentford, they have been fighting for a first place with best teams in Championship and even managed to compete with them. His success hasn’t been unnoticed and he left Brentford for Aston Villa. Of course, every time a club gets a new manager there is a question if he is the right man for the job, but this time I believe that more important question is what can he achieve with Aston Villa?
What is Dean Smith’s style of football?
Dean Smith has been one of those managers that are forcing an attractive football. With Brentford he was mostly playing 4-2-3-1 formation and there is no reason for him not to continue playing that same formation with Aston Villa. No matter who his team is playing against, he is always bringing in an attacking line-up and that should suit him perfectly in Aston Villa. Defensively, his teams haven’t been the best, but with his style of play the team is always looking to score more than once. As a manager, his win rate in total is 35%, but with the team that Aston Villa has, he should be getting more wins this season.
What can he bring to Aston Villa?
Potentially, Aston Villa has the best attack in Championship this season. They have plenty of options in attack and with a proven Premier League striker and great prospect Tammy Abraham playing as a regular striker; they have Jonathan Kodjia starting as a winger. Not to mention players like Jack Grealish and Yannick Bolasie that has been outstanding in past few seasons. It was a very good choice from Aston Villa board to appoint Dean Smith as their new manager as he will certainly focus on his attack and try to reach the full potential of the team. What is very interesting with Dean Smith is the fact that he somehow always manages to bring the best out of players that has attacking roles in his team. For example, although he had a history with injuries, Scott Hogan was outstanding for Brentford before he joined Aston Villa. What Dean Smith is hoping to accomplish is changing the club’s philosophy and here is what he said to the press:
“I’ve been a supporter and you want to be entertained and watching players who will work hard for the shirt. That’s what we want to bring to the football club. We want to develop an Aston Villa way, lots of clubs have philosophies that change from manager to manager and I feel that this is an opportunity now to develop an Aston Villa way; with the staff we’ve brought in, starting with myself, Jesus Pitarch, Christian Purslow and the backroom staff Richard and John. It’s important for any club to have a philosophy and recruit head coaches and players for that system. It certainly won’t happen overnight, but very quickly we can give players ideas and how we want to do moving forward. That said, I wouldn’t expect to have a honeymoon period.”
Defence has to be improved?
Looking at their season so far, Aston Villa conceded far too many goals, and not only against good teams, but they have been conceding even against those sides that are really struggling to score this season. Because of those mistakes, they’ve managed to lose a lot of points and if they want to achieve their goals they have to improve their defence. Although Dean Smith hasn’t been someone that can bring the right tactics when it comes to defending, I believe that his assistant manager John Terry can really help with that. It’s not only that he knows a lot of these players as he’s been playing with them last season; he was the main reason why Aston Villa had one of the best defenses in Championship last season. He certainly knows how to organize a defence and his experience and knowledge can even help the team to gain more confidence when it comes to defending.
Aston Villa has to start winning?
Although a new manager should always get a little bit of time for players to get used to the new system, if Dean Smith is looking to achieve something more than a top 10 finish this season, his side has to start winning immediately. Next two matches won’t be easy at all for Aston Villa, on weekend they will be playing against Swansea, the side with second best defence in Championship. Soon after that, they will meet with Norwich, the team that has been in excellent form lately. Although these are very hard fixtures, these games are an excellent test for Dean Smith and his team. This is also an opportunity for them to gain more confidence build their way up to the top.
Although there have been a lot of cases of managers ruining their career after taking a job with a bigger club, I don’t believe that this will be the case with Dean Smith and Aston Villa. A side that has such an excellent attack needed a manager that is playing an attacking football. Straight promotion looks quite far away for Aston Villa at this point, but with their team and Dean Smith’s style of play, I am expecting them to reach play-offs again this season.