After suffering back-to-back defeats in the Premier League, Aston Villa will be hoping to return to winning ways when they face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Friday night.
Dean Smith’s side were left reeling last weekend when, after leading Wolves 2-0 with just ten minutes to go, they completely capitulated, eventually seeing Ruben Neves strike a stoppage time winner from a free-kick.
The Villa manager will be scratching his head as to how to arrest this mini-slump, and one thing he could do today is unleash Jacob Ramsey.
With 22 appearances to his name in the Premier League last season, the 20-year-old enjoyed a real breakthrough campaign at Villa Park, establishing himself as a key part of Smith’s first-team squad.
The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece recently lauded the midfielder’s start to the new Premier League season and the added gym work he seems to have put in during the summer, saying: “I think Jacob Ramsey could save Villa a fortune. I did note down in pre-season that he looked much bigger in stature, he’s really a size now like a boxer. Glided past Chelsea at the Bridge, and that will build his confidence. He can go to Stamford Bridge and give Saul the runaround like he did, and that will bode well.
“He backed up his Newcastle performance with another one at Chelsea, and let’s see what he can do this season. A really good start for Ramsey. He could save Villa millions.”
The £7.2m-rated gem’s added physical strength and energy could see him bully an Arsenal midfield who looked very lightweight in that 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on Monday night, with both of their goals conceded coming as a result of being pinched in possession.
As per Sofascore, Ramsey averages 4.3 duels won and 1.7 tackles per game, which is actually significantly more than what Villa’s most defensively-minded midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba, has managed (just 2.4 duels won and 0.4 tackles per match).
The English starlet’s ability to cover the ground and be more of a box-to-box threat could be crucial to hurting Arsenal in transition if they can catch them out high up the pitch or breaking from deep.
Either way, Ramsey feels like he could be a game-changer for Villa.