Talking tactics: Digne’s importance, Villa playmakers set to be key in final third

Aston Villa battled back to secure a 2-2 draw with Man Utd on Saturday and Steven Gerrard’s style of play is starting to shine through as we look to now kick on.

Villa trailed 2-0 with just 13 minutes to go at the weekend, but goals from Jacob Ramsey and Philippe Coutinho ensured we picked up a share of the spoils and got a deserved point.

READ MORE: Five key talking points as Villa fight back to earn draw vs Man Utd

Gerrard will hope that the stirring comeback will now spark a solid run of form in the coming weeks as we look to start climbing the Premier League table, as the Villa boss continues to stamp his mark on the squad both with new signings and by implementing his ideas on the current group.

Looking closer at both of our goals, there is a clean sign of what is to come and how we can hurt teams consistently moving forward.

Digne, Coutinho influential on Villa debuts

As seen in the images in the tweets below, both of Villa’s goals on Saturday came through play down the left flank, with the same players largely involved in the build up of the move.

Lucas Digne, albeit he didn’t actually touch the ball on either occasion, plays a key role here as by pushing so far up the pitch while we’re in possession, he drags Diogo Dalot wider, and in turn creates space inside with other Utd players drifting to that side too.

That gives the likes of Coutinho and Ramsey space to operate, with the pair involved in setting up each goal for the other to finish as they made decisive impacts.

With our full-backs stretching the pitch and creating space for our midfielders and playmakers to attack and get into the box to become a threat, we’re going to hurt a lot of teams with that overload on the flanks and numbers in dangerous positions, and that’s with Ollie Watkins dropping shorter to help the attack build while also trying to get into the right areas himself.

Importantly, we’re seeing positive, probing passes from the likes of Emiliano Buendia who has the vision and ability to execute the right ball in the final third, and that was crucial in what were two good, but pretty straight-forward finishes for Ramsey and Coutinho as Villa came storming back into the encounter.

Gerrard is likely looking for a big goal involvement from each of Coutinho, Ramsey and Buendia in addition to Watkins, while this could perhaps make another argument in favour of ditching the idea of trying to force a partnership between Watkins and Danny Ings, with the pair struggling to spark any chemistry when on the pitch together.

It’s surely no coincidence that we scored both of our goals at the weekend shortly after Ings was replaced.

This system and personnel looks like it can be incredibly problematic for opposition defences, and it’s great to see that our two new signings so far this month, Digne and Coutinho, are straight into the action and understand the roles that they’ve got which in turn led to our memorable comeback at Villa Park.