Dean Smith Singles Out Nakamba For Praise

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By Sports Reporter

ASTON Villa manager Dean Smith has praised Zimbabwe international Marvelous Nakamba following his superb performance in his team’s memorable win over Arsenal in the English Premiership on Saturday.

The 27-year-old defensive midfielder was a surprise starter in the famous Premier League win over Arsenal, replacing Brazilian international Douglas Luiz in the starting line-up.

Nakamba had played just nine games in all competitions prior to the encounter and was making his third league appearance of the season.

The £11million man put in a solid display as he chased the ball and made numerous tackles, helping to keep the Gunners at bay.

Nakamba won six tackles – more than anyone on the pitch with Arsenal’s holding midfielders Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka who cost £85 million managing just one tackle between them.

He completed twenty passes with a success rate of 65%. He also won seven out of 10 duels earning an overall performance rating of 7.5/10.

The Warriors star has now managed three clean sheets from his three starts this season against Burnley, Newcastle and Arsenal which just underlines his importance to Smith and Villa.

Villa head coach Dean Smith said he was pleased with the Zimbabwean star’s effort when called upon.

“I just felt we needed some fresh legs in the midfield area,” Smith told Birmingham Live.

“Douglas had played every minute of the last five games; John had missed just one having sat out of the Newcastle game suspended.

“I felt it was best to rest Douglas for this game and ‘Naka’ came in and gave us some really good energy. He’s more of a defensive midfielder than Douglas and gives us something a little bit different.”

Nakamba has had to bide his time at Villa this season but has been superb when called upon and has been earning plenty of praise from fans following his display on Saturday.

While his rival in the starting line up Douglas is a great player, Nakamba is arguably more suited to breaking up play, while the Brazilian is more of a ball player.