With the Premier League back this weekend, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith once again has the difficult dilemma over one of his key players in Emiliano Martinez.
The goalkeeper was part of the Argentina team during this international break and was involved in the full 90 minutes for his country’s 1-0 win over Peru late this week.
Martinez is on the dash back to England to try and make it back for today’s Premier League game against Wolves at 3pm, and if the last break was anything to go by, Smith must surely throw him straight into the team if the 29-year-old makes it.
The Argentine shot-stopper has been in outstanding form for Villa since joining from Arsenal back in 2020, keeping the third-most clean sheets in the Premier League last season with 15.
Described as a “phenomenon” and someone who “guarantees ten points per season” by Argentine World Cup winner Daniel Bertoni, the £31.5m-rated Martinez has been nothing short of outstanding for the Midlands club, so much so that he’s become a permanent part of his country’s squad at international level.
While Jed Steer didn’t exactly do much wrong in the game Martinez missed against Chelsea, he couldn’t stop Thomas Tuchel’s side running out as 3-0 winners in what was predominantly a tight contest.
Martinez’s return after that game saw Villa 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 the 1-0 win against Manchester United three weeks ago.
The Argentine is a massive presence in between the sticks and brings a sense of intimidation to opposition strikers which unsurprisingly can’t be matched or replicated by any of his team-mates.
If he’s back in England in time and passes any late fitness checks, Smith simply has to start Martinez today against Wolves at Villa Park, as the 29-year-old has proven that he can win numerous points for his team with his stellar displays as their last line of defence.