Aston Villa latest news: 79-game star 'doesn't look as comfortable' after Dean Smith call

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith giving instructions

The Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield believes Aston Villa defender Matt Targett is not suited to playing in a 3-5-2 formation.

Villa boss Dean Smith has opted for this system in recent weeks, and Hatfield is not convinced that it gets the best out of the full-back.

What’s happened this season with Targett?

Targett has been a regular in the first-team since joining Villa in 2019, making 79 appearances across all competitions. 

However, this season he has been asked to carry out a slightly different role, playing as a wing-back rather than as a full-back.

He has started each of Villa’s last seven top-flight matches, but has had a mixed campaign to date. Earlier this month, he registered his first assist of the season against Tottenham, but he had a difficult evening against Arsenal last Friday, as he gave away a penalty after fouling Alexandre Lacazette inside the area.



What has Hatfield said about Targett?

Hatfield feels Targett has struggled to adapt to his new position, and hinted that the 26-year-old was more comfortable as a left-back playing behind former Villa captain Jack Grealish.

Speaking about Smith’s 3-5-2 setup, Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: “I think it’s less suited to Matt Targett, who doesn’t offer quite as much going forward. He linked up really well with Grealish in the last couple of seasons, but he maybe doesn’t look quite as comfortable on that left flank.”

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Is Targett at risk of being dropped?

Villa switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation in the second half against Arsenal, and this seemed to work well, as they managed to draw that half. The damage had been done in the first half, though, as they lost the match 3-1, their third defeat on the bounce.

It seems that Smith is likely to return to a back four moving forwards, which should suit Targett more, and ought to see him retain his place in the team.

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However, if Smith does opt to play a 3-5-2 again, he may want to consider bringing in Ashley Young to play as a specialist wing-back instead of Targett.

The veteran wide man is used to playing this role, having featured there regularly for Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan last term, and that experience could see him get the nod over Targett, as Villa look to end their poor run of form. 

Read More – January Transfer Window 2022: When does it open, when does it close and which players are going to move?

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