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Aston Villa: Gerrard must unleash Douglas Luiz against West Ham

Aston Villa face West Ham United later today in a crucial fixture for both teams, even this early in the Premier League season.

With a combined total of three points from 18 available, it’s clear that both teams urgently require a win in this afternoon’s clash Villa Park.

In Villa’s last game, they took the lead against Crystal Palace before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat, which has seemingly put a bit of pressure on Steven Gerrard.

There were many poor performers against the Eagles, with John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey both achieving a poor SofaScore rating of 6.3, the lowest out of either team, and Gerrard may be tempted to add some much-needed bite and solidity into the heart of the midfield.

For this reason, the 42-year-old should unleash Douglas Luiz against West Ham in a bid to win the midfield battles – according to former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, the Brazilian is “so underrated”.

Arriving at Villa Park from Manchester City for £15m in 2019, the 24-year-old has made 114 appearances for the Midlands club, scoring six times and grabbing eight assists, a decent return for a defensive midfielder.

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Last season, Luiz ranked seventh in the Villa squad with a WhoScored average rating of 6.77, while he was the third-highest rated midfielder behind McGinn and Philippe Coutinho, proving his importance to the squad.

The Brazilian has only played 25 out of his team’s 270 Premier League minutes so far this term, but it was his 17-minute cameo against Crystal Palace which should convince Gerrard that he is worth a place in the starting XI.

Should Douglas Luiz start for Villa against West Ham?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Luiz received a 7.1 SofaScore rating after coming on for McGinn, while taking 27 touches and completing all of his attempted passes, controlling the ball well and utilising his excellent passing ability to good effect despite his team’s eventual defeat.

He desperately tried to drag Villa back into the contest by making two key passes, and while those were wasted, his inclusion from the start against West Ham would give Villa some much-needed control in their engine room.

The Athletic’s Gregg Evans dubbed him an “absolute star”, and having someone of Luiz’s quality is a big plus for Gerrard.

Whoever makes way is up to the manager, but with McGinn and Ramsey a shadow of their true selves last week, it could well be one of them who makes way this afternoon.

Article title: Aston Villa: Gerrard must unleash Douglas Luiz against West Ham

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