By Jonty Banks

24th Apr, 2023 | 1:10pm

Emi Buendia can strive for Aston Villa balancing act after hit and miss performance v Brentford

Emi Buendia has been a man possessed for Aston Villa in recent weeks, but there is still room for further improvement under Unai Emery.

The Argentine initially struggled to adapt to life at Villa Park following his club record £33million transfer in the summer of 2021, but ever since being given consistent minutes due to Philipe Coutinho’s injury, the playmaker has been far-improved.

Since the turn of the New Year, Buendia has recorded four goals and two assists in his new-found midfield role, quickly establishing himself as one of Emery’s most reliable figures.

However, in the 1-1 draw against Brentford at the weekend, Buendia experienced an afternoon of mixed emotions, registering the assist for Douglas Luiz’s goal but gifting possession away far too often for Emery’s liking.

According to Sofascore, the former Norwich City ace lost possession a total of 26 times and completed just 58% of his passes during the draw, which left Villa within just two points of Spurs in fifth position.

Despite this though, Buendia did carve open a team-high four key passes as well as having 62 touches of the ball during his 90-minute showing.

It is clear that the 26-year-old is Villa’s core creative outlet under Emery, and he is tasked with creating chances in the final third, but is he trying a little too much?

Emery has often talked about the need for his team to maintain possession in a cool and composed fashion, with the likes of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa typifying his new approach with their new ball-playing approaches.

And despite creating a number of chances at the weekend, it feels as though Buendia is struggling to find the balancing act between maintaining possession and having a direct impact in and around the box.

Off the ball, the Villa playmaker’s hard work has never been doubted, making over two tackles in five of his last seven outings, while his dribbling has improved dramatically under Emery, completing two or more dribbles in eight of his last nine starts for Villa. [WhoScored]

However, if Buendia wants to take his game to the next level, he needs to be a little more selective about when to play the killer pass and when it is best to recycle possession and await chinks in the opposition’s defence.

In other Aston Villa news, this “outstanding” outfielder is expected to quit the club for good in the summer transfer window.