After looking like they were down and out just a couple of weeks ago, Aston Villa performed the unthinkable and survived relegation from the Premier League on the final day.
Dean Smith’s side secured the all-important point away at West Ham, sending both Bournemouth and Watford down to the Championship.
A tense and nerve-wracking week that started with that oh-so priceless home victory over Arsenal, ended in jubilation, and whilst Jack Grealish played a big role against the Hammers on Sunday, there was one man who put in a equally big shift too: Mbwana Samatta.
If goals were the only standard to judge a striker by, then it’s safe to say Samatta hasn’t been the most profitable of signings this soon into his career.
But these last two league games against Arsenal and West Ham, and particularly against the latter, the 27-year-old showed just how much of an important figure he can be for the side going forward.
As per Sofascore, Samatta’s 7.2 overall match rating was the highest of any Villa player, including that of goal-scorer Grealish who finished with a 7.1.
The striker led the line superbly and selflessly, constantly working for the team and closing down the Hammers defence. He contested a mammoth 16 duels in the 68 minutes that he was on the pitch – six more than the man in second for Smith’s side.
He also showed that he’s got a touch of craft about him too, providing one key pass and creating one official big chance too – that despite actually only making eight successful passes in the entire game.
Samatta’s game was all about hard work and efficiency, and there were enough signs to suggest he can kick on next season.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that Villa’s sporting director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, could be heading for the exit door due to concerns over his recruitment.
If he were to be shown his marching orders, then Samatta could well prove to be Suso’s final parting gift for the club.