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Aston Villa: Emiliano Buendia a doubt for Bournemouth

Aston Villa: Emiliano Buendia a doubt for Bournemouth -Aston Villa News

Aston Villa midfielder Emiliano Buendia is a doubt for the club’s season opener against Bournemouth on Saturday, according to two reliable journalists. 

The lowdown

Steven Gerrard will bring his Villa side to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on Scott Parker’s newly-promoted Cherries.

Buendia made 35 Premier League appearances for the Villans last season, starting 22 times overall.

Only Matty Cash (38), Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Martinez (both 36) featured in more top-flight matches for the club in 2021/22.

Buendia recorded the joint-most assists (six, level with Danny Ings) and led the way outright for expected assists with 5.5 (via FBRef).

The £75,000-per-week playmaker has been called a ‘tenacious little character’, an ‘amazing talent’ and a ‘little warrior’ by manager Steven Gerrard.

The latest

Both The Athletic’s Gregg Evans and The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece describe Buendia as a ‘doubt’ for the trip to the South Coast.

Evans explains that he is ‘recovering from [a] quad injury’ but was able to train on Thursday and would ‘be assessed’ ahead of the game.

Preece, meanwhile, adds specifically that Buendia ‘picked up [a] thigh strain in last week’s behind-closed-doors game vs Fulham’.

Intriguingly, these updates came after the official club account stated that Buendia would be ‘available for selection’, so it seems the journalists have received slightly less optimistic information, with Preece confirming a late fitness check is expected before the match.

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The verdict

How will Aston Villa’s team look on Saturday?

Well, one area where there is some clarity is the midfield three. According to The Daily Mail’s Tom Collomosse, Gerrard is ‘expected’ to start new signing Boubacar Kamara alongside Douglas Luiz and John McGinn.

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McGinn has been appointed the new club captain, taking the armband from Tyrone Mings. It will be interesting to see, therefore, whether the deposed centre-back keeps his place in the side at all, with Diego Carlos adding to the competition.

And Gerrard also has a decision to make up front – does he play both Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins, or favour one over the other? Perhaps the absence of Buendia in the attacking midfield role will force the gaffer into a traditional front two.

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