Not only did Aston Villa manage to pick up their first defeat under new manager Steven Gerrard in the 2-1 loss at Villa Park against Manchester City in midweek, but they were also dealt a blow when winger Leon Bailey was forced off the pitch with an injury.
Speaking after the match against Pep Guardiola’s side, Gerrard revealed that the thigh injury suffered by the Jamaican “doesn’t look good” and that it “looks like he will miss at least a couple of games.”
With this in mind, it could be the perfect time for one other Villa attacker to finally get the chance to prove himself to Gerrard while Bailey is out injured is Anwar El Ghazi.
Since Gerrard was appointed at Villa, El Ghazi has only made two substitute appearances, the first of which coming in their 2-0 win over Brighton in Gerrard’s first game where he played just six minutes, followed by a 13-minute cameo in the win against Crystal Palace where he provided an assist.
Even though Gerrard chose to bring on Ashley Young for the injured Bailey in the game against City in midweek, leaving El Ghazi on the bench for the duration, the Englishman failed to have much of an attacking impact to try and claw a positive result from the match.
With this in mind and the fact that El Ghazi, who has been labelled in the past as “unstoppable” by former Villa teammate Alan Hutton, has as many goals as Bailey and Emi Buendia in the league at this point in the season, this could the Dutchman’s best opportunity to show to Gerrard that he should be in the starting XI more often.
Looking ahead to the future, with Villa set to take on Leicester City on Sunday afternoon for their next Premier League clash, Gerrard should definitely consider giving El Ghazi a chance to prove himself from the start rather than from the substitutes bench again to see if he can make a difference to the team.
If Gerrard does pick El Ghazi to start against the Foxes and he manages to deliver a solid performance, he could well find himself at the start of a regular run in the team, which would be great for the winger given how he’s only started four league games so far this season.