Aston Villa threatened to make huge steps when they thrashed Brentford under Aaron Danks a couple of weeks ago, but they were duly brought crashing back down to earth by Newcastle United with a similar 4-0 scoreline.
With Unai Emery now at the helm, the 51-year-old has inherited a jumbled mess of players assembled by several managers.
Whilst the Spaniard will have to wait until January to wade into the transfer market himself – notably being linked with attacking talents such as Martin Terrier and Yeremy Pino – his pedigree as a multiple Europa League winner could understandably draw big names.
However, he might have a sensational offensive maestro already at Villa Park who is just waiting to be unleashed. That “special” player, as dubbed by Emery’s predecessor Steven Gerrard, is Philippe Coutinho.
Even if his days in the Midlands are numbered, for this all-important Premier League game against Manchester United, surely Emery must recognise the weight that it holds and return the Brazilian to the starting XI.
Coutinho holds quite the history when it comes to the Red Devils, having scored against them on three separate occasions with three different clubs. It was his goal on his Villa debut which secured their comeback in this fixture last season, battling from 2-0 down to earn a point.
When the big games arrive, the big players must play.
Having featured in some of the biggest games that world football has to offer, it could be the little magician who holds the key for Emery to securing a famous first victory on his Villa managerial debut.
Coutinho may be in poor form, but his competition for places is hardly excelling either. His SofaScore rating of 6.63 for this season, whilst far from glowing, is not that far away from Leon Bailey’s 6.72 and level with Ollie Watkins’ 6.63.
None of those are performing well, so surely the Spaniard must rely on previously-seen talents, which the former Liverpool playmaker has in abundance.