Saturday’s game against Swansea is a massive one – it’s a ‘must not lose’ game rather than a ‘must win’ one. However, a win would almost certainly see us safe for another year. Of our four remaining fixtures, I believe this weekend’s one is probably our best chance of picking up three points. You could argue that Hull at home a week later is but, let’s face it, the Tigers will be well drilled and we are notorious for failing to unlock stubborn defences at Villa Park. Indeed, failing to unlock defences has been a problem all season and Benteke’s strike at home to Stoke a month ago was the last goal we scored from open play: our last two goals have been an Ashley Westwood free kick and a Grant Holt header from a corner. These are desperate times in front of goal.
I feel it’s time to try something different.
Step forward Callum Robinson.
People argue that the heat of a relegation battle is not the time to throw a youngster lacking experience into the fray but if he isn’t getting a game now, when will he? We are in desperate need of someone who can put the ball in the net. Robinson has been doing that all season, albeit for the under-21s, so he’s earned an opportunity. In addition, our two main central strikers are on the treatment table so there is definitely a case emerging for giving Robinson a chance. It was great to see Robinson’s cameo on Saturday, however brief. I don’t like to focus negatively on individuals but Weimann is currently a shadow of the player he was last season and this has been the case for 80% of the season. It’s fair to say that we have really missed the Weimann of last term: his goals have dried up but his all round game is also not on a par with last season. Weimann’s a terrific player and next season will be the true measure of him. Many players go through “second season syndrome”. It’s the third season that defines careers. When Saturday comes, I would be starting Callum Robinson over Andi Weimann. Andi has looked most lively recently when coming off the bench, forcing great saves away at Cardiff and Palace.
Robinson will look back on this season with a real sense of achievement. He made his Villa début in September, his England under 19 debut in November, when he also scored, and he’s now made his first appearance for us in the Premier League. He has also been a consistent goalscorer for the under-21s.
Agbonlahor and Weimann have each scored three goals in the Premier League this campaign, which is not a great return. I’d imagine the Swans will have a plan to deal with them but the opposition won’t know as much about Robinson and that could prove advantageous. The movement in the final third has not been good enough. I’d argue that El Ahmadi from deep has been one of the more effective players off the ball. We need more. Robinson’s confidence must be sky high after the reception he got on Saturday. The writers for the official website have been talking him up again and it must help having Cowans working closely with him and the first team.
I don’t think we lose anything by starting him at the Liberty Stadium: we aren’t banging the goals in and the Swansea defence has shipped fifty-one goals this season. Robinson is supposed to be a very good finisher and this could be a game where we get chances. The pace of Robinson and Agbonlahor could cause Ashley Williams et al problems.
What do you think? Is it time to try something else? Does Robinson deserve a go? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.