Who are our best strikers? What combination should they be played in? Lone striker or a partnership?
Not easy to answer. Villa struggled against United because we employed two very similar players in Agbonlahor and Ayew. This combination never looked liked working – so what – or rather who – is the answer?
The 28 year old, home grown Villa fan has amassed over 300 appearances since 2005. However, these ten years have yielded just 73 goals. Gabby has shown glimpses of talent all too infrequently but has escaped the chop for a number of seasons. Intriguingly, despite the influx of expensive talent recruited in pre-season, Agbonlahor has started the first two fixtures of the season. Is he the future?
The £8m signing from Lorient arrives at Villa Park with a pedigree for flair as much as goals, with a strike rate that is hardly prolific. It has been a surprise to see him partnered with Gabby in the opening fixtures given this and also his similarities to his counterpart in terms of attributes. Ayew has previously been utilised in a wider role – might this be better suited to his style – perhaps supporting an out and out striker?
The Czeck international has had torrid luck with injury since joining us. Having missed 18 months after a serious leg break sustained in training, he has shown signs in pre-season that he still has the appetite and talent to get his career back on track. At over 6 feet in height, a good goal to game ratio and experience in both Europe, International & top flight European leagues, Sherwood would be ill-advised to overlook him. Kozak certainly offers another option that could be used in rotation with Gestede depending upon the opposition faced.
Having scored on his debut in the win over Bournemouth, Gestede made himself an instant fan favourite. To some surprise, given his size and stature, Gestede didn’t feature until late on against United. Gestede has all of the physique to trouble defenders, particularly from set plays. Additionally, having signed for £6m from Blackburn, it’s unlikely that he has been bought as a bit part player. Perhaps Gestede would be best used alongside Ayew rather than Gabby?
Sinclair has all of the tricks and finishing in his locker to made him a great striker at Villa. To date he has been deployed sparingly, often in a supporting role to another frontman. Sinclair is an excellent finisher and also uses space very well, either freeing up room for others or to make himself an opportunity. Sinclair still seems poorly used at times, when he could be either an avenue for goals or creativity in equal measure.
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