Aston Villa are going along their business quietly this season, unbeaten in seven, looking sturdy but unspectacular.
The return to form of Gabriel Agbonlahor to perhaps partner Darren Bent in attack spells good news for Villa fans, but there is a need for creative midfield support. Whilst Barry Bannan has impressed so far, some responsibility lies with summer signing Charles N’Zogbia.
The Frenchman’s arrival from Wigan was, on paper at least, a good purchase; he had been one of Wigan’s key players in survival and had plenty of Premier League experience.
But the stats suggest that Charles N’Zogbia has yet to entirely find his feet at Villa Park:
Villa’s opposition has been far from daunting, with Newcastle the only in-form opposition of note. Yet thus far his stats at Wigan eclipse his record in the second city, showing a certain degree of directness in dribbling and passing.
Defensively he’s perhaps upped his game, with a better rate of tackling and possession loss, but this may be a symptom of being in a better team.
With only seven games played it’s still early days (in statistical analysis and general evaluation), but whilst ex-Villains Downing and Young have blossomed through progression into a higher-ranked team, N’Zogbia is still to show signs of any improvement.
And with the second-best defensive record in the league so far this season, it’s up to N’Zogbia to provide a bit more going forward if Villa are to maintain their good start.