Since joining from Nottingham Forest a few years ago, Henri Lansbury hasn’t exactly established himself as a starter for Aston Villa.
The former England U21 international has found himself in and out of the team, and last season played just 15 times across all competitions for Dean Smith’s side.
But having been thrown into the starting line-up for the Carabao Cup third round clash against Bristol City on Thursday night, Lansbury delivered a timely reminder of the quality that he has.
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Villa eased to a comfortable 3-0 win at Ashton Gate, and whilst Bertrand Traore may be the name on everybody’s lips following his first goal for the club, Lansbury’s midfield masterclass would surely have left Smith purring in the dug-out.
As per Sofascore, despite not scoring or even getting himself an assist, he recorded an 8.0 match rating – higher than the likes of Traore, Ollie Watkins and Anwar El Ghazi, who all found themselves on the score-sheet.
Should Henri Lansbury start for Aston Villa?
Lansbury helped run the game from the middle of the park, boasting an 88% pass accuracy and delivering a game-high six key passes on the night – to put that latter stat into context, the Villa players in joint-second (Keinan Davis and Jacob Ramsey) provided exactly half that.
The 29-year-old also created two official big chances, delivered six crosses into the box, and found his target with five out of the eight long balls that he attempted.
Having come in from the cold like he did – it was his first competitive outing of the season – it was a performance of the highest order. And with Villa making movies in the transfer market and competition for places hotting up, Lansbury’s display would have left Smith raving.