After what was a heartbreaking defeat on Sunday afternoon at the hands of Tottenham, many fans have taken to social media and stressed their worry about starting with Danny Drinkwater in the middle of the park. Other names are being mentioned including former Barnsley man, Conor Hourihane.
The Premier League winner was signed in January on loan from Chelsea, to help fill a void left by the long term injury to super John McGinn – but fans have begun to critique the midfielder based on his first few performances in the villa strip.
Although the 29-year-old hadn’t played regular first-team football since his big-money move to Chelsea back in 2017, Dean Smith and Co believed he could be the man to tighten things up in the middle of the park, rather than give the opportunity to Hourihane. The Irishman has played 16 times for Villa this season, netting on 3 occasions (including a stunner against Norwich and another against Newcastle). On top of that, he has 2 assists to his name.
Quite rightly, fans are frustrated and confused as to why Hourihane hasn’t been trusted to step up in the holding midfield role, after some very assuring Premier League performances.
This isn’t for one moment an article dedicated to slating Drinkwater, I actually believe that when fully fit he could be a great asset to the team. Unfortunately, right now it seems that he is still a way of being fully fit. Of course, the only way to get fit is by playing more matches. The problem is that Villa are in a relegation scrap and can’t really afford to carry someone who needs to build up his fitness. This is the debate on many villa fans’ tongues right now.
For me, we need to be starting Hourihane on Saturday for the match against Southampton. I am not forgetting the unpredictable performances of Hourihane but his energy levels are far higher than those of Drinkwater right now and energy is exactly what we need for a dog fight down at the bottom.
If Conor gets tired or needs to come off for whatever reason, then Drinkwater can be the man off the bench to see out a game and protect that defence in the dying moments of a game.
Hourihane has to be starting. Who do you think should get the nod in that holding midfield role? Have your say in the comments section.