The Athletic’s Holly Percival has suggested that Aston Villa’s new set-piece plans don’t favour their key striker Danny Ings.
The centre-forward made the £25m switch from Southampton in the summer and got off to a pretty good start for his new club. Indeed, two goals in his first two games would have likely had Villa fans licking their lips over the form of the Englishman.
However, since then, Ings has failed to score in his next five league matches. During the narrow 2-1 away loss against Tottenham Hotspur, Dean Smith’s men attempted a number of set-piece routines that failed to provide much service for the forward.
Alasdair Gold described the tactics as such: “Villa are a threat, particularly with Matty Cash’s huge throw-ins that hark back to Rory Delap’s throws for Stoke.”
While talking on the 1874 podcast, Percival claimed that Ings is not particularly suited to this type of build-up and it prevents him from ‘having a big impact’.
She said: “Villa seem excited when they can have a go at a long throw-in or a corner and get the centre-backs in because they’re tall and they’re great in the air.
“But that doesn’t favour Ings at all, in my opinion. I think trying to put a through-ball on the ground from Cash or [Matt] Targett into the feet of [Ollie] Watkins or Ings could hopefully work better for both of them in the very near future if they are to try and change that up.
“I just think constantly trying to put the ball in the air just kind of rules Ings out of having a big impact. He’s great with his feet.”
TIF Thoughts on Danny Ings and Aston Villa…
Over the summer, Villa actually hired a new set-piece coach in former Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee. His approach has clearly impacted the way the club have tried to create chances this season.
Is Danny Ings' form a concern for Villa?
Indeed, MacPhee ‘had a hand’ in the goal Ings scored against Newcastle United earlier this season when the ball dropped to him following a long throw-in – since then, however, he is yet to score for the club.
Considering the way the goals have dried up for Ings, it could be worth taking a less direct route to goal from each set piece. But with Villa sat in 10th spot in the league (only four points from third place), the club may feel they are doing enough to be heading in the right direction.