Given how The Super League has dominated the football world over the past couple of days, you’d be forgiven for letting Aston Villa’s Premier League clash against Manchester City on Wednesday night slip your mind.
Dean Smith’s side will be taking on one of the SL’s ‘founding fathers’ when they take on City at Villa Park, and no doubt the pre-match talk will all be dominated by the competition and how it can be stopped.
The Villa boss however will need to ensure he keeps his eye on matters on the pitch, and there is one big call that he should look to make: dropping Bertrand Traore.
The Burkina Faso international has really struggled for form in recent weeks, failing to score in his last seven Premier League games, and picking up just the one assist in that time.
Last week against Liverpool, Traore just didn’t look at all at the races, and, writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece gave him a five, saying: “Slipped Trezeguet in with a nice reverse pass in the first half but his involvement was minimal. His display was summed up when he attempted a hospital pass infield from a Villa throw-in as Salah almost took advantage.
“I don’t think he’s formed a good understanding with Cash yet, which again was summed up as he over-hit his pass as Cash advanced. Traore just couldn’t get going, couldn’t produce that magic we’ve seen this season and struggled throughout before complaining of rib trouble once more as El Ghazi replaced him. Disappointing.”
The £55k-a-week earning Traore has just been costing Villa in recent weeks with his performances, especially when you consider that Smith has desperately needed him to step up in Jack Grealish’s absence.
Instead, the winger has just hit a real roadblock in terms of his form, and as Preece says, appears to be a bit of a liability, both going forward and back towards his own goal.
With the likes of Anwar El Ghazi and Jacob Ramsey waiting in the wings, it’s time for Smith to make a ruthless call and drop his summer signing against City on Wednesday night.