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Aston Villa: Gerrard must stick with Emi Buendia for Leicester City clash

Steven Gerrard has enjoyed a successful start to his reign as Aston Villa manager. So much so that the 41-year-old has been nominated for Premier League Manager of the Month for November after wins against Brighton and Crystal Palace.

Despite an impressive second-half performance from Villa, the former Rangers boss suffered his first defeat since replacing Dean Smith in the Villa Park dugout as they lost 2-1 to Manchester City on Wednesday evening.

Next up, they host a Leicester City side that has certainly looked under par this season and currently sit three points above their Midlands rivals in tenth.

Brendan Rogers’ men have shown a particularly weak underbelly, conceding 25 goals in 14 Premier League games, a factor that Villa will look to exploit.

Gerrard will need his entire frontline fit and firing if they are to get a result against City, but there’s one man in particular who could prove the difference for the Villans: Emi Buendia.

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You only have to go as far back as Wednesday night to see that Brendan Rodgers’ side seriously struggle to deal with crosses in the box. In their 2-2 draw against Southampton, both goals conceded came from crosses not dealt with, a well-worked set-piece and a ball in from the right flank.

This is where Buendia can shine on Sunday. The Argentine hasn’t had the best start to life at Villa Park since his £34.56m move from Norwich City, scoring and assisting just once in the Premier League. However, with fellow wide man Leon Bailey injured, the 24-year-old is almost certain to start.

According to SofaScore, Buendia has created just three big chances in 12 games and only averages 0.3 shots on target a match; this must change.

Granted, prior to Gerrard’s arrival, the entire Villa team looked toothless, losing five consecutive league games before the 41-year-old replaced his fellow countryman, Dean Smith, in the dugout.

Should Buendia start?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The former Rangers boss has instilled an easy on the eye, attacking system in a short space of time, one that will surely benefit the £31.5m-rated man.

Last month, ex-Villa striker Darren Bent admitted that he was “still unconvinced by” after the 24-year-old’s slow start to life in the top-flight after a stellar season with Norwich in the Championship last term.

However, upon his departure from Carrow Road, the winger was labelled by then-Norwich manager Daniel Farke “outstanding”, which certainly was the case at the time.

Buendia was the second tiers best player on route to the Canaries title-winning campaign, scoring 15 goals and registering 17 assists in 39 appearances.

The talent is undoubtedly there, it just needs to be unleashed and a strong showing against the Foxes on Sunday afternoon could prove the trick. Judging by his attacking talents, he could terrify Rodgers and co.

Article title: Aston Villa: Gerrard must stick with Emi Buendia for Leicester City clash

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