By Noel Whelan

26th Nov, 2021 | 8:47am

Gerrard may axe Buendia from Aston Villa XI v Crystal Palace as dreadful stats emerge - pundit

Noel Whelan has suggested Steven Gerrard could axe Emiliano Buendia from the Aston Villa starting XI against Crystal Palace.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 24-year-old is under ‘”big pressure” after his poor form this term.

Buendia was visibly frustrated after being substituted for the fifth consecutive game in Villa’s 2-0 win over Brighton.

The Argentinian lost the ball 11 times and failed to record a successful dribble, key pass, shot on target or cross in his 74-minute runout (SofaScore).

When asked about the midfielder’s form, Whelan told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “It’s down to Buendia now to force Gerrard’s hand and make it so he can’t leave him out of that Villa side.

“He’s given him the opportunity from the start last weekend but Steven will be expecting more from him, and a lot of other players in that side.

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“There are a few players underperforming at the club, players they have spent big money on – it’s frustrating.

“Steven will know all about Buendia and what he can bring when he’s on form. The player needs to step up now and bring the confidence from last season so the manager can get the best out of him.

“He’s under big pressure and he’s a big player, he needs to be chipping in goals and assists because if he doesn’t do it – he won’t play. Gerrard will have no problem doing this and finding someone else to do it, I’m sure.”

As revealed by Football Insider, Buendia joined Aston Villa in June for an initial £33million, with £5million in add-ons.

He has netted just once for the Midlands outfit.

In other news, Gerrard may have struck “clever” transfer agreement after Aston Villa move.