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Aston Villa will only improve once Douglas Luiz becomes a regular in the starting XI

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Aston Villa succumbed to defeat on their Premier League return after a trio of late strikes secured all three points for Tottenham Hotspur.

Dean Smith’s men took an early lead through John McGinn and looked resolute for the best part of an hour before an onslaught came, spearheaded by summer signing Tanguy Ndombele’s precise effort from range.

Harry Kane then put the game to bed with a quick-fire three-minute brace in the closing minutes of the match.

Despite the defeat, the overall performance bodes well for the remainder of the season and there’s certainly cause for optimism for Villa.

On the Chalkboard

In defence, Tyrone Mings continued on from last season’s exploits and his partner next to him, Bjorn Engels, looked as if he had been playing in the Premier League for years. Engels was particularly strong in the air and kept England’s main man quiet until the 86th minute, winning three aerial duels.

Conor Hourihane deputised in defensive midfield due to Douglas Luiz’s late arrival to England through work permit issues. That is one area that is likely to change despite the 28-year-old’s encouraging showing.

He recorded a rating of 7.1 which is good considering Villa were defeated 3-1 but delving deeper into his performance you’ll see he only attempted three of their 40 tackles in the match, failed to win any aerial duels and managed just two of their 25 blocks.

Luiz cost the club £15m from Premier League champions Manchester City, a potential sign of his pedigree, so he certainly wasn’t brought in to keep the bench warm. He could play a huge part this season once he is up to the necessary match fitness levels.

The Brazil under-23 captain managed to play the final eight minutes and made his presence known – recording the same amount of blocks as Hourihane in just a fraction of the time.

The former City man will bring an element of class to Villa’s midfield – one that will be able to match most of their opposite numbers in the top-flight if his performances for Girona last season are anything to go by.

Luiz recorded a 90.7% passing accuracy rate against Real Madrid last term, making three clearances, one interception and won 100% of his tackles.

He also outperformed Hourihane in most defensive facets of the game, playing in the Spanish top-flight in comparison to his midfield counterpart in the Championship.

The 21-year-old won more aerial duels per game at 1.1 with the Englishman managing just 0.7 per game.

The 5 foot 9 midfielder also averaged more interceptions per game at 0.9 compared to Hourihane’s 0.4 and tackles per game but only just at 1.5 with the 28-year-old a fraction less at 1.4.

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Article title: Aston Villa will only improve once Douglas Luiz becomes a regular in the starting XI

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