Why frustration persists as top Villa talent struggles to get opportunities

While Aston Villa’s goalscoring troubles continue, Cameron Archer remains on the sidelines despite the struggles of his more senior teammates.

Ollie Watkins has managed just one goal and two assists in nine appearances in all competitions so far this season having failed to find the back of the net in his last five league games, while Danny Ings has two goals and one assist in eight outings.

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Particularly during our recent slump in form and the pressure that comes with that, it was understandable as to why Steven Gerrard stuck with his senior strikers to try and fire us into form, but there have also been some glaring omissions where Archer should have been more involved.

The biggest one would be the Carabao Cup win over Bolton Wanderers, as that should have been the ideal situation for him to get significant minutes and show what he can offer when leading the line for the senior side.

Instead, the 20-year-old has been limited to just 18 minutes of football so far this season, and that ultimately makes the decision to keep him this past summer rather than loan him out look like a mistake.

Play Archer or send him out on loan in January

As per BirminghamLive, Gerrard reacted rather negatively to questioning about Archer being more involved this past weekend, but the questions continue to be asked because it’s clear to many that the youngster could add a spark to our play up front and more importantly a clinical end product that he has shown he’s capable of producing.

With seven goals in 20 games during a loan spell with Preston North End last season, combined with his goalscoring feats at youth level in a Villa shirt, his four goals in just nine appearances for the first team and his exploits at youth level for England, it is clear that Archer has an instinct for scoring goals.

Beyond that, his movement, sharpness, freshness and ability to make the runs that the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Emiliano Buendia can spot and play through balls for him all make a strong argument in favour of him getting more of a look in.

Especially at a time when Watkins and Ings aren’t firing, even giving Archer a chance late in games to make an impact off the bench would be welcomed, but instead he’s limited to the sidelines.

That in turn makes the decision to keep him at the club this summer questionable. Instead of loaning him out to gain more invaluable experience and improve his all-round game, he’s now lacking minutes and most likely cutting a frustrated figure as he’ll be desperate to play. It would have made sense if the intention was to play him and integrate him into the side, particularly when his teammates aren’t in top form.

Having alleviated some of the pressure on the group with recent results and with Watkins failing to take advantage of some big chances on Sunday at Leeds, this seems like a great time to shuffle the pack and give Archer a run out to show what he can do.

That doesn’t necessarily mean starting him against Nottingham Forest on Monday night, but if we’re looking for goals in a tight game or lucky enough to have a comfortable lead heading into the latter stages, we surely must start getting him on the pitch and having a good look at what he’s capable of providing right now, and not just consider him as a top prospect for the future.