While there is little doubt that Steven Gerrard’s tactics were a big part of Aston Villa’s disappointing start to the season, it seems clear that a number of players haven’t been performing to their full capabilities.
One such man is Matty Cash, as the Poland international has struggled to replicate his impressive form from the start of last season which saw him linked with a move to Atletico Madrid.
Since signing from Nottingham Forest in 2020, the versatile full-back has been one of the most consistent performers at Villa Park and was ranked as the fourth-best performer in Gerrard’s side last term according to WhoScored, earning an impressive 6.91 average rating.
This led Gerrard to sing his praises towards the end of 2021/22, saying:
“Matty’s all-in. He’s been fantastic to work with, I love his energy, I love his character and his personality.
“He wants to be a good Premier League player, he wants to be a good international player and you can see that in the gym, after training doing extra work, watching clips and wanting to get himself as best prepared and in a position to improve. They are the people you want to work with.”
Sadly, the 25-year-old has been unable to replicate that level of form so far this season, with WhoScored awarding Cash a woeful 6.44 average rating for his performances in the Premier League.
This ranks him as the 15th-best performer in Villa’s squad, which emphasises how disappointing he has been in comparison to last season, as after looking great in an average squad, he now looks especially bad in a poor side.
In comparison to 2021/22, Cash is averaging fewer tackles (2.1 vs 2.3), fewer clearances (1.1 vs 2.2) and fewer blocks (0.4 vs 0.1) per game in the Premier League, which suggests that he is one of the reasons behind Villa’s poor defensive record which has seen them ship 20 goals in the top flight.
Jokingly dubbed a “poor man’s Grealish” by Ben Foster and Emi Martinez for his looks, the full-back has also struggled offensively, averaging fewer shots (0.5 vs 1), key passes (0.5 vs 0.7) and fewer dribbles (0.9 vs 0.6) per game in the Premier League which again emphasises how much he is struggling.
Therefore, until he can rediscover his old form, new manager Unai Emery should consider dropping Cash from his starting XI as he looks to turn the Villans’ poor start around.