Lifeline looming: £18m-rated Villa ace may have played his way out of Smith’s XI – opinion

Aston Villa’s 4-0 hammering at the hands of Leicester City will leave Dean Smith with more questions than answers.

At the King Power Stadium, the Villans came off a distinct second best. They could only manage 35% possession, whilst they mustered up just one shot on target as well. The Foxes, meanwhile, amassed seven, also dominating the ball for the majority of the 90 minutes.

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There are a number of disappointing displays that could be pointed out and discussed, but Douglas Luiz’s was one that will have particularly frustrated his manager. Playing in central midfield against a side currently in the Champions League spots, Smith will have been hoping for the former Manchester City man to provide plenty of fight of grit, ahead of Marvelous Nakamba in defensive midfield. In the end, though, he did anything but.

Shockingly, he won just one of the 12 duels he contested, both on the ground and in the air. Not only that, he was also dribbled past twice, and gave away two fouls. He wasn’t much better going forward, either, completing just one of his four attempted dribbles and failing to make a single key pass, but that may have been forgiven had he at least carried out his defensive duties to a high standard.

Douglas Luiz vs Leicester - Lifeline looming: £18m-rated Villa ace may have played his way out of Smith's XI - opinion

The 21-year-old has done very little to impress since making his move to Villa Park last year. With a WhoScored rating of just 6.56, he has not set the world alight, and has failed to make a telling impact either in attack or at the back – he has 0.4 key passes per game and just 1.1 tackles. The bad news for the Brazilian is that John McGinn’s return is imminent – he could be in contention to face Chelsea this weekend.

Luiz, therefore, may have just played himself out of the starting XI.

McGinn will have likely been back in the side as soon as he was available anyway given his ability – there is a reason why Sir Alex Ferguson is such a big fan of the Scotland international – but the £18m-valued ex-Girona loanee – as per Transfermarkt – could have at least given his manager a dilemma as to who should make way for the 25-year-old.

This showing will have made Smith’s decision a whole lot easier.

For now, though, Villa fans will be desperate for McGinn can be the lifeline their season so badly needs right now.

Meanwhile, Graeme Souness’ remarks on Jack Grealish suggest he doesn’t fit Villa’s system.

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