This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Amidst all of Aston Villa’s transfer business across the last 12 months, one of Dean Smith’s lower-profile acquisitions is proving to be a something of a revelation at Villa Park after an impressive start to the 2019/20 campaign.
Although the club shelled out over £130m on 13 new players after their victory in the Championship playoff final against Derby County, the arrival of Frederic Guilbert, who had been confirmed as a new recruit in January, has proven to be a shrewd addition to Smith’s defensive options.
The Frenchman did not feature in his side’s first two Premier League games but has since emerged as a mainstay in the starting XI – starting all of Villa’s last nine league fixtures.
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Although the West Midlands side have shipped 18 goals so far this season – with only the occupants of the relegation zone having conceded more – it is Guilbert’s contribution to his side’s attacking endeavours that has underlined his importance towards Villa’s bid to retain their top-flight status.
The 24-year-old’s importance to Villa’s attacking efforts is best defined in his involvement with his side’s attacking play. Having received 144 passes since making his Premier League debut, Guilbert sits top of any Villa defender – with Matt Targett in second with 94.
These statistics point to a player whose duties are far more than defensive within Smith’s squad, and given Villa’s increasingly impressive proficiency in scoring goals – having scored more than any other side in the bottom nine – it will be vital that Guilbert continues this form in assisting his side for the 2019/20 campaign.
But for now, although the likes of Jack Grealish and John McGinn are performing admirably and rightfully gaining plaudits for their ten goal involvements, the former Caen man is going about his business in an impressive and efficient manner during his debut season in the top-flight.