Aston Villa scouting report: Jordan Ayew displays his importance against Middlesbrough

Published on: 30 July 2016
Aston Villa scouting report: Jordan Ayew displays his importance against Middlesbrough
Jordan Ayew

Jordan Ayew is expected to be the talisman in Aston Villa’s quest to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

The Ghanaian has been deployed in the number 10 role throughout pre-season and has looked a vast improvement on the frustrated forward fans saw last season.

Ayew and Villa were presented with arguably their biggest test of a highly successful pre-season with the visit of Middlesbrough and both were more than up to the challenge.

Ayew started brightly and ghosted past three opponents before forcing Victor Valdes to tip the ball around the post for a corner. Nathan Baker scored from the resulting kick.

The former Lorient man could have grabbed one for himself when he lifted a delicious ball into Rudy Gestede before darting for the return, unfortunately his effort dropped just wide of the post.

It wasn’t just his creativity in the final third which caught the eye, though. Di Matteo has given Ayew the freedom to roam without much defensive responsibility and he is clearly relishing it.

He demonstrated his range of passing with a fantastic reverse ball to set Aly Cissokho away down the left, but the Frenchman could only find the palms of Valdes.

His on-field relationship with Grealish is something that has clearly been worked on during training, whenever one picks the ball up, the other is never too far away. Some of the intricate touches the crowd were treated to were a joy to behold.

He continued to show his quality in the second-half, but he was clearly a marked man after that sensation first 45.

His incisive pass found Bacuna in an advanced position just after Boro had equalised but the Dutchman couldn’t capitalise.

Despite losing his way as Villa struggled late on, you will go have to search very deep to find a better player operating in the Championship this season.

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