Aston Villa’s impressive 5-1 victory away to Norwich City showed the potential that Dean Smith’s men possess.

It was as complete a performance as Villa fans could have asked for as things clicked all over the park and it sent the Villans into the international break with lots of positives.

There were lots of good performances and moments from every player that added to the cause but the man that stood out again for me was Marvelous Nakamba.

The CDM role has been growing in importance and stature over the last decade or so and is arguably one of the most important roles in any side.

Providing support for the defence, breaking up attacks and subsequently starting own attacks means its key.

The likes of Fernandinho (Manchester City), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) and Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) are all virtual ever presents and give consistency and an air of calmness.

With Mile Jedinak and Birkir Bjarnason moving on to pastures new and John McGinn and Conor Hourihane showing their importance further up the pitch, the signings of Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba were always going to be key.

Personally a huge fan of both players, it’s perhaps harsh on whoever misses out but Nakamba since his first start has definitely lived up to his name.

The 25 year old Zimbabwean boasts experience in both the Dutch and a Belgian top flight and has a Dutch Cup and Belgian First Division title to make up his honours.

Having made his debut in the 6-1 Carabao Cup victory away to Crewe Alexandra, he has played in every Premier League game since and has got better game after game.

A look at his stats compared to his midfield counterparts highlights how well he is currently doing.

In regards to passing, Nakamba averages 41 passes per game with a success rate of 84%.

Only Jack Grealish averages more passes per game with 42.

He sits fourth in regards to pass completion, behind Conor Hourihane (90%), Douglas Luiz (87%) and Jack Grealish (86%) but ahead of both John McGinn (81%) and both wingers, Trezeguet (83%) and Anwar El Ghazi (73%).

Nakamba leads the way in midfield in regards to successful tackles per game with 6.

This is ahead of John McGinn (5), Jack Grealish (3), Douglas Luiz, Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi (2) and Conor Hourihane (1).

Impressively he is also joint first for fouls given away only averaging 1 per game despite his greater emphasis on defence.

In the four game spell of league games, the versatile midfielder has also provided the most intercepted balls and has started the most attacks off other than Jack Grealish.

The introduction of Douglas Luiz followed by his second goal of real quality this season will provide a good battle for the CDM position as the season progresses and there has even been talk of both playing beside each other when more defensive coverage is needed.


  1. Nakamba looks a proper DCM. Just what we needed. With Targett and Guilbert starting as well, the balance is finally there. I think this team could really progress now.


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