Aston Villa – Liverpool: Right Side Mechanics Unravel Emery’s Compactness (1-3)

How long does it take for a tactical aspect to become vintage? Perhaps Liverpool still doesn’t control games like they used to, but they can rely on its right-sided flexibility to unlock super compact opponents. Aston Villa brought a ball-sided approach, but Liverpool's adaptations caused them to untangle.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.

Sevilla, Villarreal: there must be some black magic involved when Unai Emery turns up at a Villa and delivers success.

Alas, Aston Villa only sent four players to Qatar, and with Emery at the helm since October, it meant that the Spaniard has had time to translate his ideas to an underperforming side with a lot of individual talent. Emery’s big game approaches, often decided by the set-up of the opponent, had already played into effect against Manchester United and Brighton before the break.

A Boxing Day bash against Liverpool would be a much greater scalp, even if their form had been patchy in the first part of the season. Jürgen Klopp’s team had also benefited from sending just seven players to the World Cup, the least amount when compared to the big six. With that being said, there were still absentees that weren’t ready to return, such as Luis Díaz, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota. 

Villa was assembled in Emery’s favoured 4-4-2 formation. With Emi Martínez still celebrating in Argentina, Robin Olsen was between the sticks. John McGinn started on the right of the midfield, with Emi Buendía on the opposite side. Leon Bailey started alongside Ollie Watkins in the forward line. 

Klopp’s team was also assembled in their favoured 4 . . .

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Joel Parker (21) is an Everton fan. Whenever he’s not watching his beloved Everton, Joel spends his time analyzing all sorts of football. Chief editor and Founder of Toffee Analysis. [ View all posts ]

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