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Aston Villa: Steven Gerrard must unleash Emi Buendia vs Brighton

With Steven Gerrard preparing for his first fixture in charge of Aston Villa this weekend, there will undoubtedly be a number of positions in the 41-year-old’s first-team squad that he is not entirely sure which player is his best option.

Indeed, with the former Liverpool captain preferring to set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation, Gerrard must pick from the options of Jacob Ramsey, Carney Chukwuemeka, Morgan Sanson and John McGinn in the middle of the park – with both Marvelous Nakamba and Douglas Luiz appearing injury doubts for Saturday.

He will also pick from the likes of Danny Ings, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey, Bertrand Traore, Anwar El Ghazi and Emi Buendia to make up his three-man attack.

And, while £33m summer signing Buendia had somewhat struggled to nail down a starting spot under the leadership of Dean Smith this season, Gerrard simply must unleash the 24-year-old against Brighton & Hove Albion, as the winger undoubtedly has the ability to terrify the Seagulls.

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Gerrard must unleash Buendia

Indeed, over his nine Premier League appearances so far for Villa – seven of which have come as starts – the £31.5m-rated man has already scored one goal, registered one assist and created two big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 0.9 shots and making 1.7 key passes per game.

These returns have seen the player who Daniel Farke dubbed an “outstanding” talent average a SofaScore match rating of 6.92, ranking him as Villa’s fifth-best performer in the league thus far.

However, while it is undeniable that Villa fans are yet to see the best of the Argentina international – something that is extremely exciting considering his already impressive metrics – the £80k-per-week winger proved his ability at the top level during his last Premier League campaign with Norwich City.

Indeed, over his 36 top-flight appearances back in 2019/20, Buendia scored one goal, provided seven assists and created nine big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.1 shots and making a whopping 2.3 key passes per game – the fourth-highest number in the league that season, behind only Kevin De Bruyne, James Maddison and Jack Grealish.

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These metrics saw the 24-year-old earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.99, ranking him as the Canaries’ second-best performer in the Premier League.

As such, considering the huge upgrade in talent Buendia is now surrounded by at Aston Villa, Gerrard simply must afford him the game time to refind his previous form in the top flight, as, when up and running, the Argentine can terrify any defence in the league – starting with Brighton on Saturday.

In other news: Grealish 2.0: Gerrard could save AVFC millions with 18 y/o sensation dubbed “the best”

Article title: Aston Villa: Steven Gerrard must unleash Emi Buendia vs Brighton

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