The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece has delivered a major update on Aston Villa star Emi Martinez ahead of the international break.
The goalkeeper of course was part of a Villa duo along with Emi Buendia who made the trip with Argentina for their games during the last international break, which saw them having to then head back to Croatia and miss the game against Chelsea in the Premier League.
Now, Preece has revealed what the current plan at Villa Park is, and whether Martinez (Buendia hasn’t been called up) could face something similar this time around.
Writing initially on Twitter, he said: “International call-ups are mind-bending at the minute as Christian Purslow & Johan Lange fight for a solution involving Emi Martinez who, as it stands, will miss fixtures vs Wolves & Arsenal. An #avfc round-up here involving Nakamba, Traore & others.”
Then, in a follow-up article for The Birmingham Mail, Preece added: “As it stands, Martinez will miss Villa’s first two games after the international break due to the current 10-day quarantine rule which is still in place in the UK, although there is hope that a new five-day quarantine rule will be approved as a compromise.
“Chief executive Christian Purslow and sporting director Johan Lange are now awaiting to see if the UK Government relax their quarantine rules for international players, with FIFA, the FA and the Premier League sending a joint letter to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a bid to find a reasonable solution.
“If Villa are unsuccessful then it’s hoped Martinez will once again pull out of Argentina’s final match with Peru in order for him to return in time to face his former club Arsenal at the Emirates on Friday, October 22, with Martinez again expected to be available just hours before kick-off.”
Without Martinez for that game at Stamford Bridge back in early September, Villa boss Dean Smith was forced to turn to number two goalkeeper Jed Steer.
And while Steer didn’t exactly put a foot wrong in that clash against the Blues, he couldn’t stop Thomas Tuchel’s side running out as 3-0 winners in a game that was tight for most of it.
Martinez’s return since that game has seen them keep back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League, including the antics that he pulled to put off Bruno Fernandes in injury-time of Villa’s 1-0 win against Manchester United just last weekend.
The Argentine is a massive presence in between the sticks, and brings a sense of intimidation to opposition strikers that unsurprisingly just can’t be matched or replicated.
Missing him for one game against Wolves would be bad enough, but being without him against his former club Arsenal would be a huge blow. Villa fans will surely be very worried at Preece’s latest update.