Yet another international break seems to have come at a good time for Aston Villa. A third straight Premier League defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend felt almost inevitable with key injuries before kick-off. And with a couple of other wounded soldiers falling by the wayside during the first half, there is suddenly a mounting list of bodies on the Bodymoor Heath treatment table.
As well as time to overcome injuries, a couple of weeks rest will hopefully also rejuvenate several others who seemed strangely lethargic. However, one man who did appear energized was Trezeguet. And I’ve been more and more impressed with him with each passing week.
For me, even going back to the opening game of the season against Tottenham he looked really promising and was willing to attack with the ball at his feet. That is a trait which the Egyptian has continued to display at every opportunity and I do think he looks dangerous when running at defenders. I also think he was particularly excellent in the 3-2 defeat at Arsenal.
He has showcased some moments of real skill and creativity to get by his markers at times and although he isn’t lightning quick, he’s still pacey enough to create panic when we counter-attack.
His biggest problem upon arriving at the club was fitness. His energetic first half showings always seemed to give way to a tired showing after the break and Dean Smith often hauled him off around the hour mark of matches when he was clearly blowing.
Worryingly, there seemed to be little sign of his stamina improving for the first few months. Smith would continue to hook him or even bring him on as a sub. However, over the last few weeks, Trez finally seems able to be effective for the full game. I’m sure there is no correlation to the last three results, but Trez has now completed 90 minutes in each of the games against Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolves.
Against Wolves, he was continuously making himself available for the ball and ploughing forward at every opportunity. Villa were below par for sure, especially in the first half. But a stronger second half showing seemed to be centred down our right-hand side where Trez was operating and making a nuisance of himself.
Interestingly, the summer signing from Kasimpasa has also begun to add goals to his game. His late effort against Wolves which just crossed the line made it two in two after a lovely finish from a John McGinn free-kick against Liverpool.
It’s clear that the first few months in England have been all about getting to grips with this league. And that is true of several of our new arrivals. I really believe we are now beginning to see the benefits of Trez‘s fitness levels; you can see him trying to drive the team forward by direct running and he is getting into good positions to grab himself some goals also.
Still room for improvement
The defensive side of his game still needs work. There were a couple of times during the first half against Wolves where he hadn’t tracked his runner leaving us horribly exposed and that has happened during other games this season also.
And if I’m picking holes, his disciplinary record may create issues later on in the season; as well as a needless second yellow which earned him an early bath in the controversial 1-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace, he has picked up three other bookings along the way. Interestingly, two of these have come late on in games which may point to fatigue, but it’s still a hefty collection of cards for a winger to have picked up. Smith may have already addressed this matter though as the player has been clean for the last five games.
In general though, the more I see of Trez, the more I like him. Like most wingers, the consistency isn’t always there. But I think we’re seeing a player who is definitely improving week by week and he is becoming an exciting player to watch with a growing desire to run at defenders and try to get himself amongst the goals.