Tactical Preview: Aston Villa vs. Crystal Palace

Fabian Delph is fit and will provide a spark in the Aston Villa team - Ben Hoskins

Injuries have been causing selection headaches for Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert lately. He has some first team players back for this match, so who should he choose at striker?

We have been saying it and we will keep repeating it until a solution is found. The loss of Christian Benteke is immense and likely will not be remedied anytime soon. Looking for someone to step up and fill the Beast-sized void and lead the line for Aston Villa is unrealistic. That doesn’t mean that manager Paul Lambert should feel helpless though.

With Fabian Delph, Karim El Ahmadi, and Gabriel Agbonlahor all returning this week, the fans should expect a better performance than ones they have recently seen. The main problem that we have been seeing with this year’s Villa team is that they are wildly inconsistent. The problem is rooted in the fact that the first team, when everyone is fit, is pretty good but when Lambert has to draw from his bench difficulties are known to arise.

Against Fulham, Grant Holt managed to score a goal. This is relieving to some because now we know he can actually score. That being said, now the development of some of the younger players will be stunted since Lambert can now justify sticking with his man up top. Gabby will probably slot into his role at LW/LF as I expect to see 4-3-3. Marc Albrighton absolutely needs to start on the right side. Andi Weimann has looked lost in recent weeks. The Weimann situation is tricky to read because here we have a player who should be deployed centrally shafted out to the wing because there are better striking options. Unfortunately he has regressed this season. Despite his excellent work rate it has not translated into goals as he has failed to find the net since scoring in back to back games against West Brom and Liverpool all the way back in January. If he is to be used, he should be used in the middle. Lambert won’t do that though. Callum Robinson has been on the bench in just about every match recently. Nicklas Helenius has not as nobody knows what has happened to the big Dane. With just about nothing to lose, I think Lambert should give one of these guys a chance, at least sub one on with 30 minutes to play.

At the back is where Villa have had some of their more recent problems. It doesn’t matter whether Nathan Baker or Ciaran Clark is playing; it seems like one of them will have a bad game and forget to mark someone, which inevitably leads directly to a goal for the opponent. I’m willing to give Clark a chance this weekend. Leandro Bacuna, Ron Vlaar, and Ryan Bertrand round out the rest of the back four with Brad Guzan in net.

Receiving the news that Delph and KEA will return to the team was a huge boost. They will be back in action taking their normal positions in the midfield. Ashley Westwood will start as well.

Here is the lineup I’d go with (433):

football formations

Subs from: Steer, Weimann, Lowton, Baker, Tonev, Robinson, Sylla.

As always, comment who you’d like to see and why.

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