Aston Villa fell to to their second consecutive defeat in the Premier League today after losing 1-0 to Arsenal at Villa Park in the lunchtime kick-off.
Bukayo Saka’s 30th-minute goal was enough to separate the two sides, with Steven Gerrard’s team managing just one shot on target all day.
The Villans remain ninth in the table, with numerous matches postponed this weekend due to other clubs’ FA Cup commitments, but they will certainly be disappointed to follow up three consecutive wins with back-to-back defeats, even if those were against Champions League-chasing duo West Ham and Arsenal.
There was little threat in the final third from the home side, with Emiliano Buendia particularly struggling to make an impact against the Gunners.
Handed a 6.7/10 rating by SofaScore, the Argentine had just 36 touches during his 69 minutes of action, fewer than goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez’s 44. Moreover, the 25-year-old didn’t take a single shot or even attempt a dribble or cross in more than an hour of football.
In fairness to the winger, Buendia enjoyed an 88% passing accuracy whilst contributing defensively with one tackle, one interception and two clearances, also winning half of his duels.
However, it was another frustrating match for the 25-year-old, who joined from Norwich City for a club-record transfer fee of £38m last summer but is still yet to offer evidence that he will eventually live up to that substantial billing.
The Argentine has scored just twice so far for Villa, contributing four assists alongside in 28 appearances across all competitions, having netted 15 times and set up a further 17 goals in the Championship for Norwich last term.
Getting more from Buendia in the final third is certainly a puzzle that Steven Gerrard is still trying to solve, and it may take some time. However, there is plenty of competition out wide, with both Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore back fit, whilst the addition (albeit on loan) of Philippe Coutinho has stirred plenty of excitement in the West Midlands.
Moreover, the 25-year-old has certainly been a passenger at times this term, with former Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor calling for the winger to be dropped last month, saying: “Buendia, two goals and two assists in 22 games, it’s not enough. He’s not new to English football. Little glimpses in matches are not enough, I want goals and assists not little turns.
“I would drop him, to be honest. He was the big signing, I need more from him. Games against Watford and Newcastle were the perfect opportunity to go out and get some goals.”
With just nine matches left this season, Buendia needs to offer more in order to prove that he can be a reliable asset next term, with Gerrard certainly keen to see his team make progress as the 41-year-old enters his first full season in charge at Villa Park.