Journalist Ashley Preece has criticised the performance of Philippe Coutinho in Aston Villa’s opening day 2-0 defeat in the Premier League.
The Brazilian was one of many Villa players to struggle at the Vitality Stadium as they conceded within three minutes, with Jefferson Lerma opening the scoring. The hosts then comfortably held onto their lead, before doubling it with 10 minutes remaining.
It was the performance of Coutinho which left Preece worried, however. The journalist took aim at the former Liverpool player’s performance, saying on the Claret and Blue podcast: “Coutinho, a big favourite under Gerrard, isn’t he, we’ll see how that plays out. He needs to show more.
“Has Coutinho done enough to start against Everton at home? Probably not. But will Gerrard play him? Probably.
“He [Gerrard] backs him that much that I think he’ll stick with him. He needs to start showing it on a more regular basis, as opposed to one good game here and then having five weeks off and then showing it again.
“So, more consistency for Coutinho. That’s a big, big thing we need to take into the next few weeks.”
Coutinho’s record since joining the club has gradually deteriorated following a good start, with a goal against Manchester United marking a dazzling debut. After such a fantastic start, though, Coutinho managed just four more goals in the Premier League.
TIF Thoughts on Coutinho…
Aston Villa only scored 52 times in the league last season – which was an average amount compared to others. And if they want to reach the top eight or even the top six, they must find a way to score more goals.
Coutinho is a player who is supposed to help solve that issue and supply the likes of Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings with the chances to improve their respective goalscoring records. In the last campaign, though, the Brazilian managed just three assists for Aston Villa.
Of course, he still has time to get back to his best, but that time is rarely granted in the Premier League. And with Emiliano Buendia waiting in the wings, Gerrard may be forced to drop Coutinho altogether if Villa continue to struggle with the summer arrival on the pitch.