Villa hero Cash hails Emery's tactical masterclass

28 Aug 2023
Matty Cash, Aston Villa

Defender says head coach's surprise game plan of a back three worked to perfection in 3-1 win at Burnley

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Matty Cash has hailed Unai Emery as an "incredible" tactician after the Aston Villa head coach unveiled a new formation that was rewarded with a 3-1 win at Burnley, Villa's second victory in a row.

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The 26-year-old Poland right-back was pushed into a more advanced midfield position at Turf Moor by Emery.

Villa switched from their Matchweek 2 set-up of a back four against Everton to a back three at Burnley, comprising Pau Torres, Diego Carlos and Ezri Konsa, with Cash and Lucas Digne further forward as the graphics below demonstrate.

Aston Villa's average positions v Everton
Aston Villa's average positions v Everton (Cash No 2)
Aston Villa's average positions v Burnley
Aston Villa's average positions v Burnley (Cash No 2)

Cash, who on occasion played as a winger at former club Nottingham Forest, relished the attacking role, and his two goals in the opening 20 minutes set Villa up for their first away Premier League success in six attempts.


"The manager spoke before the game and gave us a game plan," Cash told the club's official website. "It's crazy because whatever the manager says, he knows how the game is going to go before, and he does it all the time.

“He's incredible and we've done the game plan today. It was to sit in a low block, let them have the ball, and then catch him on the counter attack. Obviously today I was playing in a different position to what I'm used to, and I’m buzzing with a brace.”

Cash’s goals were his first for Villa since May 2022, when he scored at Manchester City on the final day of the season.

His second came from Moussa Diaby's cutback to finish a sublime 19-man move, and he nearly had a first senior hat-trick, narrowly fizzing a shot over.

Villa's victory at Turf Moor crowned a fine week in which Emery’s side claimed three wins and two clean sheets, scoring 12 goals in the process.

They followed up a 4-0 triumph over Everton last weekend with a 5-0 UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) first-leg victory at Hibernian on Thursday.

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Next up is the return UECL tie at home to Hibs on Thursday before a trip to Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, and Cash is hoping for more of the same.

The 9.4 per cent of Fantasy Football Managers who have the Villa man in their squad will hope so too, with Cash earning a huge 17-point haul this week. 

"I like playing advanced because I know I can create, use my legs, get in and around it and support the forward players," he added.

“I know I can finish and I get in those positions quite often in training. In the first game, I missed a good chance and that’s stayed with me a bit.

“When I get in those positions, I know I can do it."

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