If promotion is the goal for Aston Villa, Gabby Agbonlahor will not help the club get there. Other centre-forward options must be used to achieve maximum success.
I’d like to start by saying I have the greatest respect towards Gabby Agbonlahor for what he has done in previous years for this club.
He was a constant threat in the counter attacking days of Martin O’Neill, but it’s fair to say Gabby hasn’t progressed since then. Since being brought into the fold by Steve Bruce he hasn’t been able to reproduce any sort of form, a familiar theme of the last few years.
His goals have dried up since 2010. Being deployed out wide more often than not hasn’t helped, but he hasn’t threatened to reach double figures in the league since 2012/13. That season he enjoyed a great end as Villa survived and Agbonlahor ended up with 9 in the league, 12 in all.
Sadly, that was a short renaissance and he hasn’t woken from his slumber since. As if his poor goal return and performances didn’t annoy fans enough, last season he outdid himself it has to be said. Off the field antics such as boozy parties and hippy crack sessions along with struggling with his weight made it his most shameful campaign to date.
As this campaign drew closer, it was assumed Agbonlahor’s Villa days were numbered. Banished to train with the reserve team by Roberto Di Matteo, it was clear he didn’t see Agbonlahor as part of his plans. To the horror of some fans, Agbonlahor was reintegrated into the first team squad by new manager Bruce and ordered him to get in shape quickly. Agbonlahor’s third weight loss program in two years.
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Focusing on the now, the Agbonlahor experiment hasn’t worked, it’s that simple. He has lost a lot of weight and runs around the pitch a bit, but he doesn’t have the finishing prowess and hold up play necessary to be a feared striker again. When I look at the striker options in the squad I can’t help but feel his place in the team would be better served by having a Rushian Hepburn-Murphy or Keinan Davis there, it’s about time the club focused on the future instead of trying to recreate old memories isn’t it? Similar to Rooney at Manchester United in that the idea is that when on the pitch he slows down the play, exactly like Agbonlahor.
Teams just don’t fear him like they used to. His blistering pace used to have even the best centre backs in the Premier League like Nemanja Vidic and John Terry playing closer to their own goal to try and close the space which Gabby used to love running into. I remember Gerard Houlier telling Agbonlahor to lay off the weights because it was hindering the effectiveness of his pace. Maybe Gabby should have listened.
I think it’s time to bid farewell Gabby.