After the whole debacle of the European Super League, attentions turned back to matters on the pitch on Wednesday night when Aston Villa took on Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Dean Smith’s side came into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat to champions Liverpool last time out, but any notion of poor form or a lack of confidence went straight out the window after John McGinn struck inside about 20 seconds.
But City turned things around with goals in either half, and Matty Cash’s reckless sending off for two yellow cards certainly put a dampener on any hopes of Villa claiming a huge victory.
While Cash certainly let Smith down by getting himself sent off when Villa had the man advantage following John Stones’ own red card, Bertrand Traore also produced a shocking display.
The winger was urged to be dropped for the game against Pep Guardiola’s side here on FFC, but the Villa boss kept faith in him, and sadly it didn’t pay off.
While City unsurprisingly dominated the ball, Traore just couldn’t get himself involved in the game, ending the match with fewer touches of the ball than goalkeeper Emi Martinez.
As per Sofascore, he had no shots on target, provided no crosses, and completed just ten passes in the 75 minutes that he was on the pitch – essentially, Traore was just a passenger that Villa carried, and his frustrating tendency to keep wanting the ball on his left foot really limited both him and his side going forward.
And, writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece gave him the second-lowest score of a five, saying: “Worked well with Cash after Villa had scored with the pair doubling up on Zinchenko. However, it was a real struggle for Traore as it was for most of Villa’s players after their opener.
“Traore showed some flashes with cross-field passes and some neat touches but City were always in control with El Ghazi drafted on for him on 75 minutes. Lacked a cutting edge again, sadly.”
With no goals in his last eight Premier League games now, it’s surely become time for Smith to make a ruthless call on Traore and drop him from the team and just take him out the firing line.