While Steven Gerrard has a whole host of jobs on his Aston Villa to-do list, one of them will be unlocking summer signing Emiliano Buendia.
The 24-year-old arrived from Norwich this past summer in a £33m move, as per BBC Sport, making him the club’s record signing.
In 11 appearances so far this season, the Argentine has managed just one goal and one assist, and so there is undoubtedly an expectation and demand for more from him in the coming months.
While Dean Smith seemingly couldn’t quite get the best out of him, albeit with injuries and other issues making the task ever more complicated, it’s now down to Gerrard to put Buendia in a position that allows him to emerge as a fundamental player for us.
Buendia struggling for form, but suits Gerrard style
There have been intermittent glimpses of the quality that Buendia possesses, with wonderfully weighted and timed through-balls setting the likes of Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings through, and but-for a better first touch, he could have a couple more assists to his name.
However, the key issue thus far has been the lack of consistency, as he has struggled to have a general influence in our build-up play and find the right areas to make the most of his abilities, and given the importance of his role in the side, we certainly need more from him if we are to be successful moving forward.
That said, Buendia’s attributes and characteristics are arguably a perfect fit for Gerrard’s style of play and the demands that he puts on his players.
From his work ethic and defensive work off the ball to his quality in possession in terms of his vision and creative flair, Buendia has what it takes to be a pivotal piece in Gerrard’s Villa side, but it’s about the pair understanding one another and how to unlock that talent.
There is no denying that Buendia has cut a frustrated figure on several occasions so far this season, visibly showing his disappointment on the bench after being replaced.
Nevertheless, as seen in the images below, he was back out on the pitch to join the celebrations after the win over Brighton to show that that frustration isn’t coming from a bad place for the team, but now it’s hoped that should he start at Crystal Palace this weekend, he is finally able to put in a match-defining performance that helps Gerrard and Villa make it two wins on the bounce.
Convinced Gerrard will get best out of Buendia in coming weeks. Seems like a good fit for his style. Frustrating time for him so far/nowhere near his best. Given how his reactions to being subbed can easily be interpreted differently, good to see this yday at FT.#avfc #UTV pic.twitter.com/m2ychVENLO
— Talk Villa (@thetalkvilla) November 21, 2021