The early signs are showing that Guilbert and Jota could be a key partnership next season.
Words by Alan Wilson | @VILLAlan54
Early signs seem to indicate that both Frederic Guilbert and Jota Peleteiro will be key to Aston Villa’s potential unlocking of Premier League defences down the right-hand side.
It’s important that these two players forge a relationship that makes the most of their attacking prowess, without sacrificing on defensive duties.
With Ahmed Elmohamady having played a pivotal role for Egypt in this summer’s African Cup of Nations, it’s likely that he will return to training in the coming weeks and will almost certainly miss the start of the new campaign away at Tottenham Hotspur on August 10th.
This means that new boys Frederic Guilbert – who joined permanently from Ligue 1 outfit Stade Malherbe Caen this summer after signing in January and returning to his former club on loan – and cross-city signing Jota from Birmingham City, will be handed the opportunity to start the season down the right-hand side.
Evidence from the first two pre-season warm-up games in Minnesota and Shrewsbury shows that both new signings have the capability to become firm favourites with the Aston Villa faithful – especially with their performances standing out so far.
Jota wasted no time in the first-half of the game against Major League Soccer side Minnesota United in showing that he has the skill and flair to get past defenders and put in telling passes to his new team-mates.
Previously at Spanish clubs Celta Vigo and Eibar, as well as spending time under Dean Smith at Brentford, he has proven that when he is surrounded by talented team-mates, he’s not only adept at assisting goals, but he also has a relatively good goal to games ratio for a wide player.
Before joining Birmingham City, Jota’s stats show that in a total of 194 senior appearances, he scored 56 goals – a little sort of one goal every three games. An excellent return for a winger or attacking midfield player.
Equally, Frederic Guilbert has initially impressed Aston Villa fans by making some raiding attacks down the right flank, especially when he appeared in the second half against Minnesota.
This was highlighted when he sprinted past two hapless defenders before hitting a low cross into the penalty area, where Henri Lansbury was on hand to convert with a tidy finish.
Selected to play in the first half at Shrewsbury on Sunday, he impressed with some penetrating runs down the right-wing and interchanged passes well with Jota and Keinan Davis. There was also a few smart slide tackles to halt dangerous attacks by the Shrews.
The attacking nature of both of these players will be a welcome dimension for Aston Villa to threaten teams down the right-hand side.
With Guilbert showing that he can be a very potent threat in overlapping and putting in crosses, when he does so, it will be absolutely crucial for Jota to drop back and provide cover until Fred returns to his defensive position. Jota has seemingly provided some defensive cover across the two friendlies, but needs to work more in this regard.
With the impending arrival of Egyptian winger Trézéguet, even if this partnership doesn’t prove to be potent in the Premier League – there’s always the option of an Egyptian duo down the right. If they both pay off, then there’s some serious competition for that right berth.