Explained: Why Nakamba’s struggles are far from over at Aston Villa
Wonderful Nakamba’s woes at Aston Villa continue after the Zimbabwean midfielder was once again dropped from the matchday squad.
The 28-year-old hasn’t been named in the Villa XI to face Newcastle United in the EPL on Saturday afternoon.
It’s the fifth time the Hwange-born star hasn’t made the matchday squad.
Nakamba is yet to play his first minute this season, having been an unused substitute in the games he has selected.
The dismissal of Steven Gerrard has brought little hope to the player, but interim manager Aaron Danks is sticking with regulars.
Why Marvelous Nakamba struggled at Villa
Since joining Aston Villa in 2019, Marvelous Nakamba has struggled to get regular playing time.
The double six system that was used by the coaches greatly affected Nakamba’s production.
Two of Villa’s last three managers have used the 4-4-2 – double 6 or 4-2-3-1 formations.
Both formations have two central midfielders – the traditional number 6s. Their roles are shared to balance defense and attack.
One of the “number sixes” is more attack-oriented and is often unmarked in midfield, and is responsible for creating play if his team is in possession of the ball.
The other ‘number six’ is responsible for the midfield role and is actively involved when his team fights for the ball.
However, the two players are meant to switch roles in the game system over and over again, in order to become less predictable.
This turned out to be Nakamba’s biggest weakness as the player is more effective as a midfielder, while the level of his game creation is low.
Under Dean Smith’s tenure, the Zimbabwe international was initially a regular in Villa’s first XI but fell behind Douglas Luiz, who took on the central midfield role.
Smith preferred the double-6 system which would require a creative central midfielder to get involved in attack and defence.
When Steven Gerrard took over the reins, Nakamba returned to enjoying regular playing time, but a long-term injury saw him lose his first-team spot.
Gerrard’s style suited Nakamba as the player would play as the only starting midfielder where he would not switch to a forward role at any point in the game.
When he recovered from his injury, the Warriors international failed to dislodge new signing Boubacar Kamara, while Luiz would be the second option in the position.
Villa have returned to the double-six system under current caretaker manager Aaron Danks and that is why Nakamba’s struggles have continued.
Upcoming manager Unai Emery also prefers the same formation which could affect the player’s chances of becoming a regular in the first XI if he fails to adapt to the system.
Emery will officially begin his reign on November 1 after completing all formalities for his work permit.