With just one win in their last five Premier League games, it’s fair to say Aston Villa have hit a bit of a roadblock in their season.
Dean Smith’s side have been hit with some injuries to key players over the past few weeks, not least to talisman Jack Grealish, who has missed the last four matches with a lower leg injury which still hasn’t cleared up.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s game against Newcastle, Smith confirmed: “Jack has been making really good progress and we are happy at where he’s at but, unfortunately, he won’t make it (Friday’s game).
“He has been ill this week so he’s been off for a couple of days as well, but we’re hopeful for the Tottenham game now, that’s for sure.”
In Grealish’s absence, 19-year-old Jacob Ramsey has been handed some greater first team minutes, but he was dropped to the bench for the 0-0 draw against Wolves last time out.
However, with a clash against lowly Newcastle tonight, Ramsey’s added attacking threat is something that surely must be unleashed against the Magpies from the start.
Villa’s former academy manager Sean Kimberley has previously raved about Ramsey, saying: “If he continues to match his undoubted technical ability and eye for a goal with the desire and energy to reach the next level, he will have a bright future in the game.”
There is no questioning that, with Grealish out injured, Villa have got a major hole in their side which is difficult to fill.
Setting up with a midfield three of Marvelous Nakamba, Douglas Luiz and Morgan Sanson against Wolves seemed to just have Villa playing with the handbrake on – not one of them has found the back of the net this season, while only Luiz has come up with an assist.
They need someone to play in between the lines in a more traditional number ten role, and Ramsey should be the man to come in to play that against the Magpies tonight.