Philippe Coutinho sends Steven Gerrard a clear message to Aston Villa ahead of Leeds clash
When Aston Villa signed Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona, the main issue many had with the signing was whether or not he would be able to reach the heights he played the last time he graced the ladder. Premier League.
Some of those worries have been allayed recently, and Villa fans woke up on Wednesday to a stunning effort from their long-range Brazilian maestro and an influential performance to go along with it.
Brazil looked brilliant from the start of their 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Paraguay, with Leeds United’s Raphinha having a goal disallowed in the third minute only for the handball.
They dominated the proceedings and recorded 77% possession in the game, which shows what Coutinho can do in a team that dominates the ball.
He recorded 52 passes with 94.5% accuracy, one key pass, six long balls with 100% accuracy, four shots on goal, seven duels won and a big chance created for his teammates. He was influential throughout, linking up well with Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior on the left side, while Raphinha posed an equally dangerous threat on the right.
His performance was then rewarded in the 62nd minute as Coutinho cut in from the left wing and unleashed a superb effort into the top corner. It was reminiscent of the player earning a £142m move to Barcelona, an emphatic finish that also exuded quality.
If Coutinho can replicate those types of performances and continue to gain form in the process, his influence and impact on Villa in the second half of the season could be monumental.
Coutinho sent a clear message to the Premier League, Steven Gerrard and all Villa fans with this performance. He is back and ready to show his talents regularly at the highest level.
Brazil won the match 4-0, but it could have been so much more considering their dominance in this game against their South American rivals.
Villa are back in the Premier League, at home to Leeds next Wednesday (February 9, kick-off 8pm).
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