Chalk and Cheese: The Rivals 1.2
In the last episode I ran through Raul Garrido’s philosophy and his transfers for his Birmingham side, now it’s time for Aurelio Ferrentino’s Aston Villa side.
Aurelio is a classic Italian manager, prioritising defensive stability. Clean sheets get points, points moves you up the table.With a small transfer budget (£1m) there’s little room to operate. He terminates a couple of loans leaving him with the following loanees:
- Sam Johnstone – Goalkeeper from Man Utd
- Joshua Onomah – Attacking midfielder from Tottenham
- Robert Snodgrass – Winger/striker from West Ham
Aurelio has decided a 3-5-2 formation is the way to go for the season and has identified 2 positions that are in need of strengthening. The first is left wing-back. With Neil Taylor the only left-footed left-back, depth is required. So in comes Demetri Mitchell from Manchester United who joins on loan for the season with no wage contribution required.
The next is the position of striker. Aston Villa are actually pretty stacked in this position, but Scott Hogan is out until mid October and fellow striker Jonathan Kodija is out until early September. This leaves Snodgrass and Agbonlahor as the only 2 viable striking options and both are pretty uninspiring choices – especially as Agbonlahor is on 50k a week and Aurelio would prefer to move him on, saving money for reinforcements in January if needed. So in comes James Wilson, again from Man Utd on a 6 month loan deal, with a 50% (10k a week) wage contribution that should plug the gap until Villa’s full strikeforce back and fit.
This is the lineup Aurelio has opted for as his ideal starting 11. The 3 centre-backs should hopefully keep Johnstone safe, whilst Taylor and Elmohamady bomb up down their respective flanks, providing defensive cover and crosses for the forwards. Bjarnason and Whelan provide the work-rate and cover for the defensive, whilst Onomah will hopefully provide a bit of creativity for the strikers, whilst also tracking back to support Bjarnason and Whelan out of possession.
In the next episode: find out how each team gets on as we take each team up to first crunch match on the 28th October!