Aston Villa latest news: Steven Gerrard expected to make big starting XI change v Brighton

Steven Gerrard on the touchline during his time at Rangers

Journalist Luke Hatfield expects Steven Gerrard to deploy a 4-3-3 formation in his first game in charge of Aston Villa this weekend.

The Villans host Brighton on Saturday afternoon, hoping to bring an end to their run of five straight defeats in the Premier League.

What formations have Villa used this season?

Under Dean Smith, Villa tried a number of different formations, but struggled to get consistent results with any of them.

Having started the campaign with his preferred 4-2-3-1 system, Smith then switched to a 4-3-3, before making a radical change by trying out a 3-5-2 formation.

It seemed that this was brought in to accommodate both Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings up top, yet this led to very little success, and Smith altered things again by going for a 4-1-4-1 setup against West Ham, only to revert back to a 4-2-3-1 for his final game at Southampton.

Smith certainly wasn't afraid to experiment, but Villa picked up just three wins from their opening 11 top-flight matches, and this ultimately cost Smith his job.

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What has Hatfield said about the formation that Gerrard might use?

Gerrard often liked to set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation at Rangers, and Hatfield has tipped him to use the same system at Villa Park.

Discussing how Villa might line-up under Gerrard, Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: “It’ll be an interesting situation. That 4-3-3 seems to be the formation that Gerrard favours, and he’s got the players to do it down at Villa.”

“They’ve proven they can do it, they did it throughout last season when they were getting the best out of themselves. So, it wouldn’t surprise me to see that be the formation that they line up for against Brighton.”

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How important is it for Gerrard to settle on a formation quickly at Villa?

It's vital.

In the final weeks of Smith's reign, Villa seemed to be lurching from one formation to the next, and it didn't work at all.

Smith was trying everything in his power to get the side back to winning ways, but it all felt a little forced, and by the end it wasn't exactly clear how he wanted the team to play.

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Gerrard needs to pick a system and stick with it for a while. That way, the players will get used to his methods, and should gain an understanding of their roles in the team and what is expected of them.

Smith appeared to be second-guessing himself in recent weeks, and Gerrard cannot afford to do that if he wants to succeed at Villa. 

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