Aston Villa get their Premier League season underway on Saturday afternoon when they make the trip to face newly-promoted Watford at Vicarage Road.
Dean Smith’s side will play their first competitive game without talisman Jack Grealish, although a number of exciting new signings have certainly given fans a sense of optimism heading into the new campaign.
One man who the Villa boss must certainly start today, is Emi Buendia.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Smith confirmed that the former Norwich star would be available to face the Hornets, saying: “(Buendia) is good to go. He had a slight adductor injury and I didn’t want to risk him in the game on Sunday (vs Salernitana). But he’s trained all week and he’s available for selection.”
The Argentine shone during the time that he was on the pitch in pre-season, especially in a fine performance against Walsall.
On Twitter, The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece was left raving about his performance, saying: “Emi Buendia had Villa fans drooling here at Walsall; the two balls in for Watkins were a delight.”
Writing in his post-match player ratings, he added: “Two assists for Villa’s record signing and what a delight they both were. The Argentinian picks up some clever positions inside and, in doing so, he carved Walsall open on both occasions to feed Watkins who scored twice.
“Buendia can pick a pass all right and the prospect of the little magician linking up with Watkins and Jack Grealish this season is a frightening one. Buendia was brilliant and he’s already left fans wanting to see more.”
The 24-year-old was superb last season for Norwich, playing in between the lines to good effect and showing the kind of eye for a pass which saw him finish as the Championship’s leading assists provider with 16 last term.
Meanwhile, this Villa star could now leave…