Jack Grealish created headlines by signing for Manchester City from Aston Villa for a British record £100m, becoming the ninth-most expensive player in the history of the game. With the money received from Grealish’s sale, Aston Villa boss Dean Smith spent the summer revamping his squad.
The Villans were one of the busiest Premier League clubs in the summer transfer window, adding the likes of Emiliano Buendia, Ashley Young, Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Axel Tuanzebe to their squad. After a productive transfer window, Dean Smith’s side have enjoyed a slow start to the new Premier League campaign.
The Midlands club have won one, lost one and drawn the other in the top-flight. They proved too hot to handle for minnows Barrow in the second round of League Cup, thrashing the Football League Two side 6-0.
With the international break in full swing, let’s take a look at the three players who have performed well and the three players who have disappointed for Aston Villa so far this season.
Players who have impressed
Signed from Southampton in the summer, Danny Ings has looked bright for Aston Villa this season. He scored on his debut, netting from the penalty spot in a 3-2 defeat against Watford at Vicarage Road, before then thumping home an acrobatic overhead kick on his home bow to help the Villans to a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United.
Ings, 29, also featured in the 1-1 draw with newbies Brentford, supplying the assist for Emi Buendia’s goal.
Anwar El Ghazi
Anwar El Ghazi has started the season very well. The winger, who has seemingly fixed his spot on the left flank following the exit of Jack Grealish, has scored three goals and supplied two assists for Villa, including a brace of assists and goals in the League Cup, so far this season.
The 26-year-old has benefited a lot from the free role off wide left and looks to be improving week in, week out under Smith.
Douglas Luiz returned to the starting XI against Newcastle United and gave a glimpse to many as to why he’s one of the key cogs in Smith’s side.
A defensive midfielder by trade, the Brazilian, 23, does his job so well sitting in front of the back four. Luiz had two very solid games against Newcastle and Brentford respectively, adding a layer of protection to Villa’s defence which looked porous without him.
Players who have disappointed (and have a lot of room for improvement)
The leader of the Aston Villa defence, Tyrone Mings was really poor in the opening weekend 3-2 defeat to Watford. He did improve in the second game, though, helping Smith’s side to a 2-0 victory over Newcastle.
The England international, 28, missed the game against Brentford with a cracked rib injury. Mings remains out for now but he will surely look to put in better displays after recovering fully with his stature in the team demanding a more consistent season this time around.
Only Ederson (20) and Edouard Mendy (18) have kept more Premier League clean sheets than Emiliano Martinez (16) since the start of last season, which tells one the standards the Aston Villa goalkeeper has set since arriving from Arsenal two summers ago.
However, the Argentinean international, 29, hasn’t looked convincing at all in the three league games he’s played so far, conceding four goals in the process. Post the international break, Martinez will miss the Premier League match with Chelsea due to UK’s COVID-19 quarantine regulations and the management will hope he returns to his best form sooner rather than later.
Signed for a record-breaking £33 million from Norwich City, Emi Buendia has had a mixed start to life at Villa Park. That could be down to a disrupted pre-season after he sustained a hip injury in the 2-0 friendly loss to Stoke City.
Buendia, 24, was a major disappointment against Watford and while he improved in the next two league games, scoring a superb curling goal in the 1-1 draw with Brentford, the creative playmaker is yet to go a long way towards justifying the hefty fee Aston Villa paid for his services.
Nevertheless, it’s early days and Buendia will hope to do a lot better. Just like his Argentinean compatriot Martinez, the 24-year-old will miss the Premier League game with Chelsea due to UK’s COVID-19 quarantine regulations.