Jota’s pre-season has gone from strength to strength, but the new midfielder should beware of peaking too soon.
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Aston Villa fans were treated to a 5-1 drubbing of League Two outfit Walsall on Wednesday, which is still something to be happy about due to the number of players brought to the newly promoted Midlands side.
There were a lot of talking points coming out of this preseason affair, but one player went above and beyond and at times looked like he was on another level. The Spanish winger Jota, headband and all, ran rampant all over the pitch against Walsall. There is a definite partnership growing between Jota and Frederic Guilbert on the right flank and it has been quite a sight to see so far.
Jota, either motivated by wanting a place in the starting eleven or the signing of Egyptian winger Trezeguet, was on fire. So much so that it begs the question: “Can Jota look this good in the Premier League season?”
Villa supporters have witnessed it time and time again. A player performs unnaturally well in the preseason, and then when it matters most, disintegrates into thin air. The latest example would be Richie De Laet last year under Steve Bruce.
De Laet looked like he really was going to make a go of breaking into the first team with promising performances, albeit in preseason fixtures. When the time came for the regular season to start, De Laet was dispatched on loan. There is no way that Dean Smith would allow Jota to go out on loan, but the Spaniard is going to have to work extra hard to keep his place in the squad.
Again, the inclusion of Trezeguet signals towards the “healthy competition” that Dean Smith not only expects but demands for his teams. While we have yet to see Trezeguet play in an Aston Villa shirt, it would be hard-pressed to think that the popular Egyptian will just be handed a place in the starting eleven.
Dean Smith does not work that way, at least it does not seem like it. This new-look Aston Villa will thrive upon competition for places from some hungry and able footballers. Every signing from Aston Villa so far as echoed the sentiments and quotes by manager Dean Smith since arriving at B6.
One of the most important scenes that developed in the Walsall fixture in terms of a Jota/Guilbert partnership was the defensive responsibility. Chemistry builds when given the room to do so and Jota would make underlapping and overlapping runs coming off of a simple pass to Guilbert; a sign of more physically gifted players.
It sounds like a very simple tactic, but teams struggle with providing this type of offensive know-how, while still maintaining defensive responsibility. Aston Villa will need that as much as possible in their return to life in the Premier League, and Jota looks to be up for the task, even in preseason.