After making his return from injury on Sunday night, it’s fair to say that Matty Cash didn’t enjoy the greatest of games in Aston Villa’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham.
The former Nottingham Forest star had been out of action for Dean Smith’s side for several games due to injury, with veteran defender Ahmed Elmohamady coming in for him.
After being named as an unnamed substitute last time out against Newcastle, Cash was given the nod to make his first appearance in a Villa shirt since his injury, but things just didn’t go to plan.
As well as being involved in the controversial decision to award Harry Kane a penalty in the second half, the right-back just seemed to lose his composure as the game wore on, perhaps more to do with his match fitness levels more than anything else.
As per Sofascore, he lost possession a whopping 29 times on the night, by far the most of any player on the pitch, and a telling sign of how he just couldn’t get his normal game going – his season average has seen him concede possession 14.4 times per match in the Premier League.
As well as his wastefulness on the ball, Cash also attempted no dribbles, provided no key passes and delivered no crosses either – offensively, the full-back was just a complete non-entity and couldn’t link up with Bertrand Traore at all.
Writing in his post-match player ratings for the Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece admitted: “Back in for his first start since tweaking his hamstring at Brighton. Cash started brightly and was aggressive in the challenge against the likes of Lucas and Reguilon.
“However, his performance dipped off significantly in the second half and it was Cash’s clumsy challenge which put this fixture to bed as his trailing leg caught Kane in the box for the penalty. His aggressive nature and willingness for the cause were both welcome but, like most, he wasn’t on his usual game.”
With Elmohamady set to turn 34 later this year, and reports already indicating that Smith is preparing to let him go, there’s a real lack of genuine quality and competition to challenge Cash at right-back either when he’s out injured, or if he’s in bad form.
It’s exactly why the Villa boss will be worried about Cash’s display against Spurs, and will simply be hoping that it was a minor blip in what has otherwise been an impressive debut campaign at Villa Park for the former Forest full-back.
Meanwhile, this Villa man was woeful against Spurs…