An injury to Jack Grealish has resulted in just one win in five games for Aston Villa.
Whilst Villa’s captain should be back for their next league match, against Tottenham Hotspur, Grealish’s injury has, once again, proved that Aston Villa are too reliant on the England international.
Grealish has long been linked with a big-money move away from Villa Park, however, after almost single-handedly keeping Villa up last season, he pledged his future to his boyhood-club.
This season, the responsibility has been eased off Jack Grealish, with Watkins, El Ghazi, Traore and Barkley among others, having impressed this season.
The result of this has been a fantastic season for the Villains, who are on course for their best Premier League finish in 10 years.
However, Grealish’s injury, which he sustained in training, has uncovered just how much Aston Villa still rely on their talisman.
Villa have won just one game out of five without Grealish, scoring just three goals and losing against bottom of the table, Sheffield United.
Aston Villa have looked a shell of the side that have been the surprise package in the Premier League this season and much more like the side that scrapped to survival last season.
Without their star man, certain Villa players had the chance to step up and show what they can do, however, they have failed to take the opportunity.
Villa have looked slow and sluggish and have lacked creativity in front of goal – over-playing on too many occasions.
Dean Smith admitted before the Newcastle match that planning for matches without Grealish is like playing chess without a queen.
Smith’s analogy has proved to be an accurate one, and on the pitch, Villa have lost the magic and the match-winning edge that Grealish provides.
At one point, European football looked a possibility for Villa, however, the injury to Grealish has soured what has been a brilliant season for Dean Smith’s side.
Grealish’s absence has provided a glimpse to life without him at Villa Park and the disappointing performances that have coincided with his injury will seriously concern everybody at the football club.
Villa’s performances without Grealish have prompted critique from pundits and Paul Merson brutally labelled Villa as a ‘one-man team’, following the draw with Newcastle.
The criticism, although slightly harsh, is becoming harder and harder to condemn and if, or rather when, Jack Grealish leaves the football club, Aston Villa are going to seriously struggle without him.
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