Dean Smith must light a fire underneath Trezeguet with the Aston Villa forward failing to deliver when it matters the most.
Trezeguet has started eight of the Villans’ opening 10 Premier League fixtures while being introduced from the bench in the remaining two, yet has registered just a single assist and is yet to score this season.
The Egypt international failed to turn the ball home against Championship side Bristol City in September’s EFL Cup win, either, and was hauled off in the 74th-minute of Monday night’s 2-1 loss at West Ham United having directed just one of three shots on target and offering only one key pass.
Smith needs to see far more from Trezeguet than what the 26-year-old is so far bringing to the table, with the winger ranking second only to Jack Grealish (26) at Villa Park for shots taken in the Premier League thus far this term (22) but directing just six of those efforts on target, per WhoScored.
Trezeguet ranks just fifth for key passes (9), too, which is six fewer than Chelsea loanee Ross Barkley who has only played 455 minutes of top-flight football in claret and blue to the £7.2m-rated attacker’s 720.
Midfielders Grealish (40) and John McGinn (24) have also registered a higher number of dribbles attempted (16) than Trezeguet, who further ranks behind Ollie Watkins (13) and Barkley (11) for successful attempts (10) with a per-90-minute record (1.3) worse than Anwar El Ghazi (5.1) and Bertrand Traore (1.7).
Despite Trezeguet’s often tame efforts, Smith continues to place a great deal of support behind the 26-year-old who West Ham star Declan Rice claimed forced David Moyes into changing his side’s shape during Monday night’s clash at the London Stadium.
“He [Moyes] was unhappy,” Rice told Sky Sports during their post-game coverage (30/11). “He didn’t go into too much detail as we know as players that half wasn’t good enough. They were playing a 4-3-3 and we were a 5-2-3, and they were causing us problems in the midfield.
“We couldn’t get around them quick enough and when you have players like Jack and Trezeguet coming in off the lines, causing problems, the manager had to change it and that’s why we went to a four [in defence for the] second-half.”
Moyes’ change in system worked perfectly for West Ham, with Trezeguet restricted to just 11 touches after the break, while playing a mere five accurate passes, not attempting a single dribble, failing to take possession with his only tackle and missing the target with one of his two shots on goal, per WhoScored.
Villans hero Gabby Agbonlahor was far from impressed with Trezeguet for missing what he felt to be a gilt-edged chance when picked out in the box by Watkins, with the player-turned-pundit telling Football Insider: “He’s just got to connect with it and as frustrating as the save was, the actual shot was going wide.
“In the Premier League, you get punished for not taking easy chances like that. If that ball fell to anyone else but Trezeguet, they would have scored. I just feel his game is a bit erratic, he works hard but his final ball at times was poor. He makes the wrong decision.”
If Moyes was able to nullify Trezeguet’s threat during a half-time team talk, Smith must be alert to other sides seeing the £75,000-per-week forward as a weak link they can ignore to focus their efforts toward taming Grealish and Watkins.