Our showing against Wolves was arguably our worst of the season and I could moan about a number of things to do with our team and our performance on Saturday. I’m only going to focus on one, however, and it is something that I have been confused about for some time now. Steve Bruce’s attempt to reintergrate Agbonlahor into the starting line-up is not working on the pitch or off of it and the manager needs to stop using the Villa veteran.
I will say one thing about Gabriel Agbonlahor: it is clear that he does love Aston Villa. He is undoubtedly a big fan of the club but, after his recent actions and string of performances, he is far from a fan favourite. In fact, most fans actually dislike him. When we were relegated last year, he was pictured enjoying laughing gas and partying with his friends. Add this to the fact that he was training with the youngsters at the club and still taking home a large weekly wage. It was understandable that most of us not only expected, but encouraged, him to move him.
But Agbonlahor did not move on and when Bruce came in to the picture so did Agbonlahor. Even if fans put Agbonlahor’s past actions to bed and focus on his contribution this season, there is absolutely no reason why he should be anywhere near the first team. In the last ten games, he has had three shots on target. Three.
His last goal came last season against Norwich City and his last scoring outing before that was in March 2015. As a striker, this is obviously a terrible return. The truth is that he hasn’t even looked close to scoring or seriously changing a game for us this campaign. The pace he had has all but gone, something which was arguably the biggest aspect of his game, and defenders must be laughing when they see him in the starting line-up.
I would honestly prefer to see any other name on the team sheet rather than Agbonlahor’s at the moment. McCormack is struggling, but deserves a chance that Agbonlahor wasted a long, long time ago. Bring one of the young lads in while Kodjia is away or, even better, sign another striker, because I can’t see Agbonlahor going on a goal-scoring run. I know he has scored a lot of goals for this club and I understand that some will call me harsh, but any legacy he has at the club is currently being ruined. If his antics last season didn’t do that already, that is.
This frustration is not something that has come after Saturday’s loss, but is rather the result of a gradual loss of patience over time. It’s better for Agbonlahor, and for Aston Villa, if he moves on. I want to remember him scoring at St Andrew’s and skipping past defenders. I don’t want to watch him week in, week out, desperately out of his depth. Bruce has tried, and failed, and the fans are demanding a change. Gabby Agbonlahor does not merit a starting place in this team. The sooner we focus on the future of the club, the better, and Agbonlahor is not a part of our future.