The high-profile acquisitions of Yannick Bolasie and Anwar El Ghazi on-loan were expected to spark Aston Villa to greater reaches this season. It’s been anything but that, as both players struggle to unseat the incumbent wingers.
Aston Villa’s struggles this season are well-documented and various in nature. There was a managerial change last month as the club faced difficulties dealing with an unbalanced squad. The defense continually self-implodes with goalkeeper mistakes aplenty. Coupled with key player regression ranging from a little (Jack Grealish) to a lot (James Chester), and Villa sit in an extremely disappointing 17th-place in the EFL Championship.
But the most confounding problem at Aston Villa is the anonymous contributions of on-loan wingers Yannick Bolasie and Anwar El Ghazi. The pair, thus far, have been huge disappointments in a position of need for the claret and blues. When André Green was sent on-loan to Portsmouth, it was expected the above duo alongside Albert Adomah and Ahmed Elmohamady would form a dangerous rotation in England’s second division.
So far, it hasn’t come to fruition.
Bolasie, now almost two years removed from ACL reconstruction, has yet to start for Aston Villa this season. His eight substitute appearances have been a mixture of exciting, explosive dribbling and overall letdowns (he does have two garbage-time goals). With Ahmed Elmohamady contributing two goals and four assists from the right-wing position, and Alan Hutton preferred at right-back under Dean Smith, Bolasie settles for a bench role – sometimes missing out on the matchday eighteen entirely. Elmohamady is in great form, but we saw the offensive output regress later on in the season last year. Aston Villa needs more, and they need it from Yannick Bolasie.
Anwar El Ghazi’s Villa debut was excellent. I mean it was really, really exciting. He looked like the old player that debuted with Holland’s National Team as a teenager.
Since then? Bleh.
His brief Villa appearances culminated in the 4-1 Sheffield United pummeling and Carabao Cup defeat to Burton Albion. In recent weeks under both Steve Bruce and Dean Smith, he’s missed out in the matchday squad more than he’s been included. His play in the second-half vs. Norwich City left a lot to be desired.
Albert Adomah has not scored this season after tallying a club-high 14 last season. It’s a troubling trend dating back almost a year after he propelled Villa forward with his August-to-December strikes.
Simply put, Villa are not getting nearly enough from their wingers this season. The high-profile acquisitions of Yannick Bolasie and Anwar El Ghazi have yet to pay dividends. For Aston Villa to achieve anything of note this season, one or both must step-up as consistent contributors to the attack.