Solid as a rock

In First Team Players

On Saturday we had a combative midfield and the midfield trio of Carlos Sanchez, Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Westwood complemented each other. It seemed that the team was dominant in the middle of the park, which meant the game was shifting into the club´s favour. That was until the sixty-ninth minute, when Tim Sherwood replaced the Colombian with new boy Adama Traore, which turned the tight tactical affair into a more open duel.

Fans have expressed their disappointment that it was Sanchez who was sacrificed for Traore rather than Agbonlahor, who really didn’t show up at Selhurst Park. This has led to Villans questioning what Agbonlahor actually brings to the team.

With Agbonlahor dissapointing, the name ‘La Roca’ is currently on the Villa fans´ lips. The Colombian took his time to settle in at B6 but it now seems that Sanchez is finding his feet at the club.

Last season was a difficult one for Sanchez, who was still adapting to the English game. In his first game against Arsenal, it showed: he was certainly off the pace and it didn’t help that he had had no preparation as he was a surprise inclusion after Ashley Westwood was ruled out with a virus. His passing was also off target on most occasions that day. That is something the Villa Park faithful have been accustomed to, as the former Elche man definitely isn’t renowned for his passing. He is better known for his tackling and for getting the ball back for the team – a job he did extremely well against Crystal Palace.

It has been a good few months for the twenty-nine-year-old, who enjoyed a successful Copa America with Colombia, when he was able to say that he had “Neymar in his pocket”. Not many players get the better of Neymar but Sanchez certainly played his part against Brazil and rightly received the man of the match award. He has since come back to Bodymoor Heath with a point to prove and seems eager to show why the Villa officials sanctioned a £4.7 million payment for the midfield battler.

The Villans now seem to be getting the real Carlos Sanchez and if he does keep this form up throughout the season, Tim Sherwood will have another gem on his hands. The area in front of the defence has been an issue that has needed to be addressed for a number of seasons, with various managers trying to bring in midfield commanders. Those players failed to shine and found themselves heading out through the exit door before making an impact. Hopefully, Sanchez can cement his place in the starting XI and live up to his nickname in claret and blue.

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