Last week, the newest installment in the FIFA series, FIFA 16, came out around the world.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from that often-frustrating game, it’s that you have to have a plan to play to your strengths in order to get a result.
In that sense, it parallels the real world pretty well — and it’s something Aston Villa have struggled with this year.
Let’s get something out of the way first: Rudy Gestede is a very good player in the air. He’s already looking like the best header of the ball I’ve seen in a while, and his goal tally is starting to reflect that.
As a result, Tim Sherwood’s looked toward the Benin international as the focal point of his attack. That’s fine, I guess, but I’m not sure it’s really the best use of resources for Aston Villa.
Jordan Amavi’s signing matches up well with making Gestede the focal point of an attack, but for the most part, the club’s other key players don’t particularly gel with the tall striker.
Let’s take the trio of "creative" players Sherwood has at his disposal now: Jack Grealish, Carles Gil and Adama Traoré. These three guys are, or at least have the potential to be, game-changers, as we‘ve seen at varying points during their career.
But if we’re focused primarily on getting crosses in for the tall guy up top, doesn’t that take a little bit away from their creativeness and ability to make things happen? What good is it for Adama to get to the by-line if the striker waiting for the cutback can’t properly settle the ball with his feet? Or what good are Grealish’s incisive through balls for someone whose asset is his head?
Ever since Jordan Ayew was signed, I’ve thought an attacking trio of him, Grealish and Gil could be pretty damn fantastic for this club — add Adama into that in a 4-2-3-1 formation and you’ve got a lot of movement opponents would have a difficult job coping with.
It’s why I didn’t completely understand the Gestede signing in the first place — he just didn’t seem to fit with everything else Villa were doing in the window.
Now, this isn’t meant to be an attack on sorts of Gestede or even a criticism: he is what he is, and he does a very good job at what we was brought in to do. You can’t ask for more from a striker than three goals in two games, and that’s what Gestede has done in the past week.
But I’m just not convinced it’s the right decision to play to his strengths. He’s not the best player on the team, and I’m not sure I’d put him in the top 10 to be truthfully honest.
Time will tell, and we’ll see how it plays out, but Tim and the club might not have that amount of time on their hands.
Failure to get it right could have drastic consequences.
Who knows. Maybe Tactics Tim is right. But I fear he’s headed down the wrong path.