Aston Villa wasted a plethora of chances against Chelsea last weekend and with Steven Gerrard’s job potentially on the line, he should unleash rarely-seen Cameron Archer from the start against Fulham on Thursday.
The Villans fell to a 2-0 defeat against Graham Potter’s side despite having an xG score of 2.45, with a combination of poor finishing and impressive goalkeeping ensuring that Gerrard’s side would once again fail to find the back of the net.
Villa have managed just seven goals from their opening ten Premier League fixtures – the joint-second worst in the division – which suggests that it is time for Gerrard to look for different options in his attack.
Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins have scored only one goal each so far this season so it is surely time to see Archer get a start, with the 20-year-old having been limited to brief substitute appearances so far this season despite seven goals in the Championship for Preston North End and four in the League Cup for Villa last term.
During his time with Preston, he won the praise of manager Ryan Lowe, who said:
“His quality levels are fantastic, he’s bullish, strong, he can roll, he has got that little burst of pace too.”
Gerrard has already confirmed that Archer will return to the squad after missing the game against Chelsea through illness, saying:
“Cameron Archer’s back today! He’s going to be travelling with us with the squad tomorrow. He’s over his little bug.
“The team news is the same as it was. We’ve had a couple of knocks and tightness from the game but I think they’ll pull through this morning. Cam has trained the last few days and he’ll come back into the squad.
“He’s going to be needed as well because the thing that’s missing from our performances and being so close at the moment is putting the ball in the net. To have him available and to have another option is big.”
Archer certainly showed last season that he knows where the back of the net is and with four goals in two professional starts for Villa he has certainly earned a chance to show what he can do in the Premier League.
If he can score the goals that Villa need on Thursday night, it might just keep Gerrard in the job that little bit longer, with reports suggesting that a poor result in Craven Cottage could spell the end for the Liverpool legend at Villa Park.