Why much-needed impact hopefully catalyst to spark Villa ace’s form

While the disappointment of our defeat to Arsenal overshadowed any positives on Saturday, Philippe Coutinho’s impact was hopefully a big moment for him moving forward.

It’s been a real struggle for the 30-year-old so far this season, as he had gone 21 appearances – eight of which were starts – without a goal or assist in a Villa shirt.

READ MORE: Emery sets clear challenge for Villa players after latest setback

There were key factors that contributed to that beyond his control with a change in manager as well as an injury setback prior to the World Cup, but there is no doubt that Coutinho was struggling to find any form when involved, and it was becoming a real concern for us.

After taking to social media to dismiss speculation over his future at the club during the January transfer window, the Brazilian playmaker has steadily shown improvement and is starting to make an impact under Unai Emery.

We saw positive signs during his appearance off the bench against Man City last week, and he finally ended his goal drought after being given the nod against Arsenal this weekend.

As seen in the video below, not only was it a quality piece of play from Coutinho to find the finish, but there were signs of chemistry and understanding between him and Emiliano Buendia, as well as Alex Moreno down that left side.

Coutinho ended the game with 29 touches, 79 percent passing accuracy, one key pass, five tackles and having won six of 13 duels as he showed some improvement in his overall influence on our play, and so there were aspects of the display that were particularly promising.

Having been replaced just after the hour mark, it’s clear that he’s still physically not in top condition, but that’s understandable given he hasn’t completed full games consistently for some time, and so that’s part of his process too in getting back to something close to his best.

Goals and big moments for big players can really change things quickly. After months of frustration and disappointment, you could see how much the goal meant to Coutinho with his celebration. Now, the test will be to continue to play an influential role in Emery’s plans and earn a regular spot in the Villa XI to showcase his quality on a more consistent basis.

If he can do that, it will be a huge asset added to our attacking play and overall style in games, but it’s important that Coutinho follows it up now and it’s a catalyst to get him going for the rest of the season, rather than just a flash in the pan moment that we’ll see from him every so often in a more limited role.

Leave a Reply