After tasting defeat to Manchester United last time out in the Premier League, Aston Villa boss Dean Smith may look to freshen things up for tonight’s clash Everton.
Despite taking the lead thanks to a stunning strike from Bertrand Traore, Villa were once again on the wrong end of a penalty decision against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, with Douglas Luiz being penalised for a foul inside the box.
That led to a United fight-back in the second-half, with strikes from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani enough to see United home.
And it’s Luiz who Smith must consider dropping from the starting line-up when the Toffees come to town at Villa Park, with his mindless moment on Sunday, and his actual poor form in recent weeks, surely warranting him from being taken out of the firing line.
Writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece gave the £50k-a-week earning ace a four, and said: “The Brazilian did well to sprint back to put Fernandes off which typified his work off the ball. Douglas’s passing was off a tad and he should have done better to feed El Ghazi in during an attack.
“The birthday boy, 23, was brave and wasn’t afraid to press United high, often leaving McGinn to mark Fernandes in case of a counter-attack. Douglas was stupid and foolish to allow United a way back into it as he bundled Paul Pogba over inside the box – as he did at Old Trafford as well. Struggling for form of late, is Douglas. Replaced by Jacob Ramsey with a little over half-hour to go.”
That sentiment was echoed by The Athletic’s Gregg Evans, who branded it a “really stupid” foul from Luiz when he conceded the penalty.
And when you look at his form, the Brazilian just hasn’t been at the races for Villa, much like the side as a whole in truth.
As per Whoscored, the midfielder has only registered a match rating of above seven in one out of his last ten Premier League games, and that’s a damning indictment for someone who has been a regular starter for Smith all season.
With the likes of Jacob Ramsey waiting in the wings to be given more starts before the season is over, now seems like the perfect time for Smith to make the ruthless call and axe one of his favourites.
He’s just been shocking for far too long now.