Villa Park under the lights, there’s no place quite like it – after of a disappointing, but no less encouraging start for the claret and blues, we face our first night match on our return to the Premier League, and with it, the chance to get our first points on the board. But is there already a selection headache for Dean Smith?
I think most of the Villa fanbase were surprised to see the combination of Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi starting the season opener away at Tottenham on 10th August. The reasoning? Jota had certainly been favoured in the majority of our preseason games, with some impressive performances. Our season opener was also the first-time fans had laid eyes on the signing from Turkish side Kasimpasa, who for the first 60 minutes of the game was thrilling, brave and skilful – everything a winger should be.
El Ghazi had his moments during our latest game against Bournemouth providing some good link up play with Grealish on the left side of midfield. His performances over our first two games in fact were by no means poor, with a pass completion rate of 73.2%, nothing to be criticised over. But similar to Jack we have seen the heights Anwar can reach,namely his second goal and performance away to West Bromwich Albion last season comes to mind. As a fan it’s difficult to understand why some of our players can’t perform at that same level week in week out – do you remember the last poor game John McGinn had?
One notable factor to last season was the balance in our midfield, Bruce and Smith would always have a balance with the wide men, usually a combination of El Ghazi and Adomahor Green and Adomah, with the Ghanaian being the more defensively minded. Perhaps that’s why Targett and Guilbertare yet to make their debuts in a competitive game this season as our current full backs are more defensively minded, complimenting El Ghazi and Trezeguet.
After the team sheet was released an hour before the Spurs game, Twitter in particular went into meltdown over Taylor and Elmohamody starting ahead of Villa’s new signings. When you take a step back and think about how consistent the Welshman and the Egyptian were toward the end of last season, ever-present performers in the team who went on the record breaking 10 game winning run. Anyone who plays amateur football will tell you the importance of keeping the same side each week, how much it helps cohesion and understanding on the pitch. No doubt one of the reasons why the Villans management team kept the pair in the starting eleven.
Looking ahead to this week’s opposition, something Smith and his coaching staff will certainly be aware of is the attacking nature of Coleman and Digne. Both fullbacks are an integral part of Everton’s attack, in which the Frenchman in particular has already registered an assist. Villa fans will be hoping that his hamstring injury sustained against Watford keeps him out of Friday’s game meaning a start for veteran Leighton Baines.
Will Smith be sticking with the same eleven that narrowly missed out and getting a result against The Cherries?
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