That’s according to Ashley Preece’s latest report for Birmingham Live, in which the journalist claimed that, after missing Villa’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City last weekend due to illness, the 27-year-old should be available for selection for Saturday’s trip to Leicester – with Preece predicting that the Belgium international’s return date is around September 10.
Speaking ahead of the City fixture, Gerrard said of the midfielder: “Dendoncker’s got tonsillitis, he was a bit rough but he got worse last night so he was unavailable [vs Manchester City].”
While the argument that it is good news one of Steven Gerrard’s summer signings looks as if he will be able to make his debut for the club this weekend is a rather obvious one to make, it is nonetheless very much the case regarding Dendoncker.
Indeed, despite having secured an impressive point against Pep Guardiola’s side last weekend, in truth, Villa’s campaign so far in 2022/23 has been something of a disappointment, with the club currently sitting 17th in the league standings after taking just four points from their first six fixtures.
Solidity at the back and in the middle of the park has been one reason for this poor showing, with Gerrards’ side having already shipped 10 goals in the league this term – at a rate of 1.6 per game – while the Villans have also not been at their free-flowing best going forwards – having also found the back of the net a total of just five times so far this season.
This is something that, in theory, the addition of Dendoncker will help to improve, with FBref ranking the £25.2m-rated talent in the top 10% of midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues for blocks per 90, as well as the top 27% for aerial duels won, the top 21% for passes completed, the top 21% for non-penalty xG and the top 40% for pressures over the last 365 days.
As such, with the Belgian quite clearly being an imposing figure in the middle of the park, as well as one who is extremely capable with the ball at his feet and can get into goalscoring positions, the 27-year-old’s return to fitness would undoubtedly increase Villa’s chances of picking up a positive result at the King Power on Saturday – with three points being an absolute must for the increasingly under-fire Gerrard.