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’s didn’t hold back in the transfer market this summer and after two straight defeats, it’s going to be put under the microscope following a total spend of £144.5m.
12 new players walked through the door at Villa Park – some in the form of ex-loan players such as Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi whilst others were complete newbies like Douglas Luiz and club-record signing Wesley Moraes.
Not all of them have even made their debuts yet, for instance, Matt Targett can’t buy a game ahead of last season’s playoff hero Neil Taylor with the partnership of Mings and Bjorn Engels also keeping Ezri Konsa out of the side.
Another one of these players is Marvelous Nakamba, who doesn’t even look like featuring anytime soon as boss Dean Smith has claimed the midfielder is “still a little bit off it” in terms of his fitness.
The Zimbabwe star played one game in this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations and got injured so he’s barely had a pre-season let alone any real playing time since arriving.
That means his current fitness is some way off the levels required to play in the Premier League.
Even when he does return he already faces an almighty task to get into the side.
Conor Hourihane started the season in the defensive midfield role and did very well – rating out at 7.06 against the Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur, also recording a 88% pass success rate, three tackles, two interceptions and four clearances as per WhoScored.
Luiz was handed a debut in their second match of the season, replacing Hourihane after just one game.
His performance against Bournemouth rated at both ends of the spectrum.
The 21-year-old first made a huge error to gift the Cherries a second goal after his poorly thought out dummy fell into the path of Harry Wilson who duly slammed home.
He then made measures to atone for his error by powering home his own long-range screamer in the second half but it was to only be a mere consolation goal.
That moment of quality showed what he can bring and the fact he can contribute at both ends of the pitch can only spell bad things for their £11m midfielder, Nakamba.