Aston Villa coach Dean Smith has explained the rationale behind giving Zimbabwean midfielder Marvelous Nakamba a rare premier league start in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon.
The former Bantu Rovers midfielder played the entire game as he replaced Douglas Luiz in the central midfield. The appearance was his second league start of the 2020/2021 season.
Smith said he wanted fresh legs in the middle of the park and to rest Luiz who had played every minute of the last five games. Said Smith:
I just felt we needed some fresh legs in the midfield area. Douglas had played every minute of the last five games; John (McGinn) had missed just one having sat out of the Newcastle game suspended.
I felt it was best to rest Douglas for this game and ‘Naka’ has come in and gave us some really good energy.
He’s more of a defensive midfielder than Douglas and gives us something a little bit different.
The 27-year-old Warriors international completed twenty passes with a success rate of 65%. He also won 7/10 duels and made six recoveries.
He also had the most successful tackles in the game which proved his defensive prowess in the midfield.