Aston Villa could reportedly be without Emiliano Martinez when we host Liverpool on Boxing Day.
With the World Cup now concluded, the full focus is back on the Premier League as we look to build on a positive start under Unai Emery prior to the break.
In order to continue to move in the right direction, it’s imperative that we have as strong an XI available over the festive period as possible, but it has been suggested that we’ll be missing one key figure in our first game back.
According to The Mirror, Martinez is expected to remain in Argentina this week as he continues to celebrate their World Cup triumph, and although it’s an obvious setback given how important he is for us, it’s added in the report that Emery has given it the green light and thus accepts that he will be without the Argentine international next Monday evening.
It’s unclear at this stage if that is the official position and whether or not that absence will run on for our trip to Tottenham on January 1, but it’s hoped that Martinez is back in Birmingham in the near future to get back to training and to play a fundamental role for us this season as we look to move ourselves into the top half of the Premier League table.
On one hand, it’s a life-changing achievement that deserves to be celebrated in his homeland and we can’t knock him for wanting to spend more time savouring the moment amongst his family and compatriots.
On the other, we need our first-choice goalkeeper back for the upcoming schedule and ultimately he has a duty to be back and not miss games, and so it’s hoped that if it is indeed confirmed that he’ll miss the Liverpool game, he is back in time to put himself in contention for the following outing.
Robin Olsen will no doubt step in if required as he has been getting significant minutes during the break in our friendlies, and so Emery may well have to rely on the experienced Swede to fill the gap and prove that can produce when called upon and is a reliable back-up option.