Aston Villa legend Gabriel Agbonlahor gives his opinion on Bertrand Traoré’s strengths and weaknesses

See how Agbonlahor believes Bertrand Traoré will fit with Dean Smith’s latest formation change

Bertrand Traore is one of several players affected by the change in formation. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Aston Villa legend Gabriel Agbonlahor says Villa’s formation change could prove difficult for attacking player Bertrand Traoré.

Dean Smith has ditched the 4-2-3-1 formation in favour of a 3-5-2 to accommodate both Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins.

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In the midfield five on both flanks are Matt Target and Matty Cash, two attacking full-backs who can cover both areas of the field.

As a result, Traoré, known more for his attacking qualities, has had to take up a place on the bench, as well as the likes of EMi Buendia and Anwar El Ghazi.

“With this formation, it’s difficult to see where Traore will play,” said Agbonlahor to Football Insider.

“We’ve got Leon Bailey as well, you’ve got Emi Buendia who’s not starting, you’ve got Anwar El Ghazi too. It’s hard to see where he fits in.”

Hero Agbonlahor is well placed to comment on Villa’s attackers. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

As well as a change in formation, the 26-year-old has also suffered an injury whilst on international duty with Burkina Faso over the past week.

Traore did not feature for his country in their first two games as a result of isolation but then did not play in their final match, as a result of a thigh issue.

Given a hamstring issue earlier in the season, he has only played 57 minutes of Premier League football, making his task of breaking back into the team even harder.

Whilst 3-5-2 is favoured at the moment, there has also been last season's trusted formation of a 4-2-3-1 against Watford, as well a 4-3-3 against both Newcastle and Brentford, so a Plan B could be his route back into the side.

Despite the issues, Agbonlahor believes there is a decent player in Traore and hopes he bounces back.

“But football can change. One good substitute appearance where you get a goal, before you know it you can be starting.

“If you look at Aston Villa there’s going to be a big fight for places and it’s going to come down to who wants it the most, who’s going to work the most in training.

“I’m sure when he’s back in training Traore will be looking to get back into the side because last season I thought he did very well.”

The Burkina-Faso international had 14 goal contributions last season, scoring seven and providing seven goals in 36 games in the Premier League, becoming a mainstay figure with 29 starts.

Given he only signed for Villa in September 2020 for what is believed to be just under £20m and the deal isn’t due to run out until 2024, Traore has plenty of time to turn his fortunes around.