Aston Villa

Aston Villa: Noel Whelan claims Philippe Coutinho not the same since permanent move

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Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan has questioned Philippe Coutinho’s form since his permanent switch to Aston Villa.

Coutinho arrived on loan at Villa Park back in January, and after five goals and three assists in 19 Premier League appearances, the club decided to sign him permanently this summer.

Villa paid a reported £17m to bring in Steven Gerrard’s former Liverpool teammate, but the Brazilian has been a far cry from the player Villans came to love during the second half of last season.

He is yet to register a goal or an assist in nine appearances across both league and cup, including a full 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Leeds United on Sunday – with Whelan suggesting that Emiliano Buendia is a more effective option for the West Midlanders.

The ex-Leeds striker told Football Insider“Coutinho has not hit the heights he did when he first came in.

“It seems like he’s just lost that bit of grit, determination and desire. He’s not putting in that work rate or being efficient on the ball.

“He got into some decent positions against Leeds, but a man of his quality – you’re expecting better.

“I thought he was going to come into his own when Leeds went down to 10 men and exploit the space, but he didn’t.

“It was a lacklustre performance from Aston Villa. Buendia did more in the short time he was on than Coutinho did in the full game.”

TIF Thoughts on Coutinho and Villa…

Has Coutinho been a flop at Villa?





The underlying numbers reinforce that the £125k-per-week ace has suffered a drop-off in form this season, with just 0.2 expected goals and assists per 90 minutes this term, compared to 0.47 last season (as per FBref).

His shot-creating actions per 90 figure has also dropped from 3.66 to 2.87 and Buendia could perhaps feel hard done by that he hasn’t been involved more regularly.

When compared to Coutinho, the Argentinian has played 142 fewer minutes in the league but has scored once and is averaging 0.42 non-penalty expected goals per 90 – more than three times that of the Brazilian.

Buendia has only started twice in the top flight this season and not since the defeat at Arsenal in August, but with Coutinho not producing, an opportunity could open for the 25-year-old.

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