In this decade, Aston Villa fans have enjoyed the likes of Christian Benteke and Tammy Abraham as forwards – and may be expecting too much, too soon from Wesley.
Words: Regan Foy |@findfoy
Wesley isn’t enjoying the best of times at the moment, especially on social media.
The Brazilian forward hasn’t scored a goal since his brace against Norwich City – a dry spell of eight games – and has struggled to get involved against some opposition, whilst other performances have seen him link up with team-mates well despite some downfalls in his style of play.
Over the last decade, Aston Villa fans have been treated to some fine forwards – the likes of Christian Benteke and Tammy Abraham spring to mind. Nowadays Benteke is festering on Crystal Palace’s bench after a prolonged period of poor performances, whilst Tammy – who aided the club’s promotion to the Premier League last season is one of the most lethal forwards in the competition at Chelsea.
It may not even be too far of a stretch to include Jonathan Kodjia, in his first season at the club, in that list. The Ivorian picked up a number of goals that in hindsight, stopped the club from following a similar path to that of Sunderland.
Whilst Aston Villa have not been blessed with talents like Sergio Aguero, Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane to lead their front line, we have been lucky enough to witness a number of exemplary forwards at Villa Park.
Just take a look at some of those considered greats, and fan favourites at Villa Park before you cast aside the club’s young Brazilian forward. Christian Benteke scored five goals in his first sixteen appearances for Aston Villa, whilst firm fan favourite John Carew only scored three.
Wesley sits in the middle of these two; balancing between two ‘icons’ of two different decades, with four goals in his first sixteen games. Perhaps the quality of goal may differ, perhaps their involvement in games differs too, but Wesley is on track according to the history books on our forwards.
Tammy Abraham was a different kettle of fish, unfortunately for Wesley, with the now newly minted England international scoring 10 goals in 12 appearances for Aston Villa last season. Albeit in a poorer league, and with his four goals against Nottingham Forest contributing to that also.
Somewhat unfairly, Wesley was cast by fans and the media as the hottest thing since sliced bread when Aston Villa broke their transfer record to secure his services so it was almost expected that he’d follow in the footsteps of Abraham, Benteke and co. and make the faithful fall in love with him with his displays in front of goal.
It’s early days yet. Wesley is yet to even play half a season in a new league, arguably the toughest in the world, at a club that he joined only four or five months ago. It’s important to keep the faith in the young Brazilian, even if some of his displays have been lacklustre, as manager Dean Smith evidently does not trust Jonathan Kodjia to replace him, and young Keinan Davis is injured.
Wesley’s all we have, whether you’re a fan or not. Support him, and hopefully, he’ll flourish, before more competition is hopefully acquired in January for the Aston Villa forward.
One thought on “Abraham gave Aston Villa a show, but Wesley does not lack merit”
The stick Wesley has been getting from some sections of the support is both unhelpful, unnecessary and unwarranted in my opinion. OK, he’s not delivered a goal return like Tammy did last season or is doing this season for Chelsea, but even with the £20 million+ price tag on his shoulders, that was always going to be a big ask. As we’ve seen so far this season, if the Championship was a tough league to compete in, the Premier League has developed into an entirely different level since we last played there.
Wesley is being asked to do a job for our team, and it leaves him primarily playing with his back to goal and feeding our midfield and wide player. And it’s working – we’re scoring plenty of goals from around the park – we’re just not doing enough defensively to take advantage of it.
Wesley’s own stats aren’t amazing for a lone forward at this level, but they do compare favourably with his team mates. 4 goals, 1 assist, 22 shots so far, 15 on target for an accuracy of 68% – the highest in our team. Could he stand to be more selfish in front of goal? Sure. But the guy is still adapting to life in the Premiership, and that’s the kind of thing that will come with experience and confidence.
As an aside, Benteke may be languishing on Palace’s bench, but I would have him back at Villa Park in a second. We’ve got the best out of him before, and can do again. Bring him home.