Philippe Coutinho could be axed by Aston Villa as new details emerge - pundit
Noel Whelan has claimed Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard will be under “real pressure” to drop Philippe Coutinho after his dismal performance against Everton on Saturday (13 August).
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted his potential replacement Emi Buendia, 25, “transformed the game” against The Toffees.
Coutinho, 30, was substituted for Buendia on the hour mark – and the Argentina international went on to score the decisive goal for Aston Villa as they beat Everton at Villa Park.
The former Liverpool star failed to register a shot or create a chance and lost the ball on 11 occasions (as per SofaScore).
Coutinho, who signed for Aston Villa permanently earlier this summer, has started 18 of the last 21 Premier League games – while Buendia has started 22 of the last 39 top-flight games.
Whelan insisted the Everton game showed exactly why Gerrard went out to strengthen the attacking midfield area this summer.
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He told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “That’s why you have players who can come on off the bench to make an impact.
“Buendia transformed the game when he came on, and that’s what it’s all about.
“That cameo off the bench really puts pressure on Gerrard to make that change for the next game.
“However, if Buendia can’t then keep up that level – then it opens the door for Coutinho again.
“This is why Gerrard went out and strengthened the area – and it’s particularly that number 10 role.
“They’re the players who can create and get Villa ticking in the final third.
“It puts real pressure on Gerrard to make a decision. Buendia will be expecting to start the next game.”
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