After signing from Lyon in the final few weeks of the summer transfer window, it’s been no surprise to see Aston Villa manager Dean Smith look to try and slowly ease Bertrand Traore into first-team action.
The Burkina Faso international has played just four times, with the majority of his action coming in the Carabao Cup – the winger has seen just nine minutes of Premier League football thus far for his new club, with a couple of very short cameos against the likes of Fulham and Liverpool.
But with the international break now over, Smith must surely be tempted to throw his big-money signing into his starting line-up, even despite seeing Villa thump Liverpool 7-2 last time out.
Speaking at the announcement of Traore’s signing, Smith said: “We’re delighted that Bertrand has chosen to come to Villa. He’s a player with immense talent who will really enhance our attacking options.”
With Leicester deploying a back-three in these first weeks of the new campaign, Traore’s ability to beat players one-and-one could be crucial to ensuring Villa don’t leave Ollie Watkins isolated and starved of service.
The former Lyon star averaged a very impressive 1.6 shots, 1.1 key passes and 1.4 dribbles per game for the French side last season, and the X-factor that he possesses could give Villa an out-ball on Sunday night.
In terms of average possession per game, Leicester rank fourth in the entire division with 55.2%. Brendan Rodgers has got his side looking to dominate the ball, so having a pacy outlet like Traore could be the kind of difference-maker that tilts the tie in Villa’s favour.
The pace and movement of a front-three of Traore, Ollie Watkins and Jack Grealish could cause havoc on the counter-attack, with the former’s directness and willingness to take players on being a potential game-changer.
Smith must surely consider starting his summer signing on Sunday.
And in other news, Villa must beat the competition to sign this EFL star.