Injury Update: Coutinho Hopefully Back In September After Latest Setback

coutinho hamstring injury

After a promising initial loan spell from Barcelona that resulted in the deal being made permanent, Coutinho has been plagued by injury problems ever since.

The Brazilian, still just 31 years old, has seen his Villa Park career become a story of momentary peaks, offset by recurring set-backs on and off the pitch.

Whilst few could overlook his obvious talents, with stand-out goals against Manchester United on his debut, and a sublime finish at The Etihad, it’s been far from plain sailing.

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The former Liverpool playmaker struggled badly in the ill-fated Steven Gerrard era, being shoe-horned into a faltering system and whilst also looking badly out of form. As the club lurched, results failed to materialise and then club record signing Emi Buendia warmed the bench, Gerrard got his marching orders.

It was unclear how new manager Unai Emery might regard Coutinho, especially given that questions were beginning to be raised about if Villa had made the right decision in making his loan move permanent. It was immediately evident that Emery would adopt and instill a style of play that was notably different. On paper, Coutinho had all of the technical skills to be part of this, but would his body and personal hunger be up for the challenge?

In truth, Coutinho has barely featured, not because of player preference, but due to recurring lengthy injury and fitness problems. He missed a large chunk of the 2022/23 compaign with hamstring problems.

After a summer of recuperation, one in which great emphasis was made through social channels of his recuperation, it seemed plausible that Coutinho remained in Emery’s plans. This perhaps became more likely with the unexpected hammer blow of Buendia suffering a serious ACL injury just days before the season opener.

It was therefore pleasing to see the two-time La Liga winner appear as Villa were strolling to victory over Everton. Initial signs were promising, with a number of neat inter-plays and moments to suggest that Coutinho might not have the turn of pace he once did, but certainly has all of the talent.

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Then the Villa injury curse struck once more, hot on the heels of Buendia and Tyrone Mings suffering a season ending knee injury the previous week during the loss to Newcastle.

After going in for what appearing a very innocuous challenge, Coutinho landed awkwardly and immediately winced in pain. After a period of treatment, it was clear yet another injury had struck, one which left him in agony and barely able to leave the field despite the support of two Villa medical staff.

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Whilst our worst fears have now been allayed, it marks yet another layoff for the midfielder and one which hampers Villa’s squad depth. It comes at a time when we are also going to have to juggle fixture congestion, with the Premier League, domestic cups, and welcome pressure of the Europa Conference League to contend with.

As it stands, initial scans have reportedly been positive, and it’s hoped that Coutinho will return by late September. It’s believed to be a hamstring injury, with a recovery time of about 3 weeks mooted. Whilst that’s to be regarded as good news, the club must surely be considering realistically how the short to medium-term plays out for the Brazilian.

With rumoured interest from the Middle East in the summer transfer window, it’s not totally implausible that he might be the type of target that clubs in the region might look to sign in the current climate. Villa could now conceivably give this serious consideration.

For Villa and Coutinho, it’s yet another frustrating pause on a stop-start career at B6.