Changing it Up! Why Aston Villa's New Recruits Could Suggest a Change in Formation
It is now less than two weeks until the beginning of the Championship season, and Aston Villa fans are still trying to guess what formation Steve Bruce will deploy this year.
The former Birmingham City manager has used 4-4-2 in all of his pre-season friendlies so far this summer, but it has been widely reported that he will opt for a 3-5-2 shape during the campaign.
Bruce has used this system successfully in the past - in particular with Hull City, who Villa face on the opening day of the season.
The Villa boss played with three at the back on several occasions last season, but reverted to 4-4-2 after a series of poor results.
However, Villa's signings this week may suggest that Bruce plans to revisit a 3-5-2 shape.
The Villans have a surplus of right-backs, with Alan Hutton, James Bree and Ritchie De Laet currently on their books, yet none of the trio can really be considered a right-wing-back.
As a result, Steve Bruce signed Ahmed Elmohamady, who he knows can play in the solo role on right hand sight, having managed him at Hull.
Chris Samba also joined this Villa this week and will provide extra defensive cover, should a three at the back system be implemented.
Glenn Whelan's arrival also suggests Villa may use a 3-5-2 shape. The Irishman could play alongside Mile Jedinak in a two-man defensive-midfield unit, which would allow Villa's more attack minded players to thrive.
Neil Taylor would likely play on the left of a five-man midfield, a position he knows well from his exploits with Wales at Euro 2016.
Steve Bruce finally has all the pieces of the puzzle for 3-5-2, but it still remains unclear whether he will put them all together, or if he will stick with the tried and trusted 4-4-2 system that has been used in pre-season.