Aston Villa could potentially suffer a setback ahead of their Boxing Day tie against Liverpool, as goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is unlikely to be available following his World Cup heroics, helping Argentina win the trophy.
Journalist Pete O’Rourke discussed the availability of the 30-year-old ahead of the crucial festive schedule while speaking to Football FanCast:
“Yeah, I can’t see Martinez being back available for that game.
“Obviously, we all know that their celebrations look like they will go on for a few more days in Argentina and get the players to switch back to domestic action.
“I think it is going to be pretty hard for all managers of players who have tasted success with Argentina at the World Cup so I think we probably won’t see Martinez maybe until January as well.
“And I’m sure Aston Villa have been preparing for that anyway, for the players who maybe went to the later stages of the World Cup.”
This will undoubtedly represent a blow for Unai Emery, especially considering Martinez’s form in Qatar. The goalkeeper kept three clean sheets across his seven matches played, while also making three penalty shootout saves in the wins over the Netherlands and France.
He was in solid form before jetting off to Qatar, making 2.7 saves per match, a success rate of 67%, and keeping three clean sheets in 15 games.
Emery will have to call upon backup keeper Robin Olsen, and this might send shivers down his spine considering just how bad he was in his only Premier League appearance this season.
Emery will be hoping he can improve against Liverpool on Boxing Day; however, the quicker Martinez is back, the better.