Time is ticking on Gabby’s career

In First Team Players

Regular readers of my articles on avillafan.com will be aware of my big bug-bear at Villa – Gabriel Agbonlahor. I have received a fair bit of stick for articles on Agbonlahor in the past two years, including this piece in February. In the article entitled ‘Gabby Must Go’, I was very critical of Agbonlahor’s performances and commitment.

Now, at the start of a new season, it seems to be a similar situation. I find myself banging the same drum as before: I believe Agbonlahor’s time at Villa should be coming to an end.

Tim Sherwood has overseen wholesale changes to the squad this summer. Only four of the players who faced Crystal Palace on Saturday – Bacuna, Westwood, Grealish and Agbonlahor – played in Villa’s last game of the 2014-15 season. Changes were needed at B6. One player I was prepared to eat humble pie over was Agbonlahor, who became a scapegoat of my anger for large parts of last season.

Last season Agbonlahor was, in my opinion, a hindrance in the starting XI. In hindsight, I recognise that having him on the pitch may have been important in a relegation dogfight because not many players understand the club like Gabby Agbonlahor must do. I still wonder why he is such a long serving player. Is it because nobody has tested his loyalty or is it because he isn’t good enough to move forward?

Agbonlahor is often static. The twenty-eight-year-old missed two golden chances on Saturday at Selhurst Park and the first of them was arguably one of his worst misses in a Villa shirt. Ashley Westwood played a ball through to Gabby, who galloped away, using his biggest asset – his pace – only to half-heartedly poke the ball to the advancing, Alex McCarthy, who would certainly not have saved it if Agbonlahor had put any sort of power behind his shot. It was a moment that summed up the fans´ frustration with Villa’s longest serving player.

Some fans suggest that Agbonlahor needs to be deployed more centrally but it is hard to make a case for then when you see the chances he has missed in the opening three games of the season.

Agbonlahor has lacked a cutting edge for some time. The crosses he produces are as fruitless as the ones that frustrated us last season. His finishing has not come on since the early Martin O’Neill days and his desire to work is non-existent. At the age of twenty-eight, I would expect him to be at his peak but, in reality, he hit his peak six seasons ago.

The former England international was made ‘club captain’ at the start of the season, which means he is essentially a club ambassador. I am known for my criticism of Agbonlahor’s performances on the pitch but I find it sad to say it is time for him to end his time at Villa Park, although I expect he will become a bit-part player.

Sherwood seems to have an abundance of wingers in the squad but he has still opted to start with Agbonlahor for the first three games of the new season. It is understandable that he would count on the Villa veteran given the influx of new players, who will need time to settle, but Agbonlahor hasn’t stepped up to the mark in a claret and blue shirt.

Something has to give soon. Carles Gil, Adama Traore, Jack Grealish and Scott Sinclair are all far more deserving of a place in the team than Gabby Agbonlahor and they should be given the chance to fight for Agbonlahor´s place in the starting line-up.  

 

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8 commentsOn Time is ticking on Gabby’s career

  • I agree with your comments. Unfortunately Gabby has always been at his best when he is acting on instincts – the goal I always remember is the one away at OT when Youngy put a ball in and Gabby’s speed and instincts got him in front of their keeper for a header – and NOT when he has time to think (oxymoron??).

    He adds little now other than, as you, as a bit part player/impact sub. I am still hoping against hope that we can bring in Charlie Austin with Rudy as back up and Ayew as a partner if we play 2 up top.

  • Agree with the majority of what you are saying but I would keep him at the club as I think he would be useful to have on the bench

  • I disagree, pace isn’t Gabby’s biggest asset, it’s his ONLY asset! It’s also only a matter of time until that disappears.

    I’d also argue he has never had a cutting edge.

    Otherwise, couldn’t agree more. I was at the Europa game vs CSKA Moscow (seems so long ago!) with a couple of non-Villa fans, and, as you might expect, they were aware of his pace and when discussion turned to him before the game, that was the first thing they mentioned. I agreed, but told them to watch him in possession in the game, and that he’d more often than not run himself into dead ends and not achieve anything. Gabby obliged by doing exactly that, and it was Carew who dug us out of a hole in that particular game.

    Fast forward however many seasons and he’s just got worse IMO.

    An excellent servant to the club, but we’ve struggled to score now under multiple managers and with all sorts of different personnel, there’s one constant across all those seasons, and it’s Gabby.

    Time to go, son.

  • You seem to have forgotten KOZAK,whats he done to not even get a place on the bench!Scored 3 pre season goals,how many did gabby get?none,Sinclair scores 2,gets subbed and then doesn’t get a start.The problems Sherwood.I don’t want to start slagging a new manager off,i quite like his bubbly character plus I can understand him not like the last bumbling idiot.But if he keeps picking out of form players then its down to him when things go wrong.

  • Another non-performance by Gabby on Saturday last. He brings nothing to the table, and how he can justify a starting place based on performances over the past twelve months and more,simply defies logic.

    It would surely be in his own best interests to seek pastures new. He definitely looks as if a new challenge is what he needs.

    We cannot afford to keep carrying him.

  • Agree with everybody but it feels like brutus stabbing ceaser its because claret and blue runs in his veins . Over the seasons I have got so frustrated with his barn door misses with his pace if he could just gather some composure in front of goal he would get 15 goals a season Maybe he needs to slow down because there is no doubt he is a gifted player great vision and work rate but its like he has blinkers on in the box People must see this at the club and they need to work harder on the training ground with him. Qaulity player
    but needs some very good striker coaching I hope it happens will be sad day when he goes

    • I’m truly sorry but you do need to be corrected. Gabby is neither ” gifted ” nor does he have ” great vision ” . Unfortunately he can’t trap a bag of wet sand! He plays by reaction rather than anticipation. Great players have always had positional awareness ( Think God ) and are a yard ahead before Gabby reacts. Agbonlahor’s goals per game and goals per season stats are woeful. They are definitely not justification for circa £50k per week he’s been given ample opportunity to improve but rather he has gone backwards. Time for him to go!

  • Shame to have to agree, Gabby must sharpen up his finishing ability, what is his game to goals ratio? He does not deserve a starting place. Maybe TS thinks he can do an Adebayor with Agbonlahor, but they are different players….

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