Ross Barkley Return Date
“He certainly will be fit for Palace”, said Aston Villa Head Coach Dean Smith, finally providing a definitive injury update on Ross Barkley, whose absence had been a bit of a mystery to Villa supporters, having initially been expected to return from his hamstring injury against Burnley.
Villa play Crystal Palace on Boxing Day with the game being screened live on the BBC.
There’s no doubting Barkley lifts the capabilities of this Villa team to another level and while he was missed against Brighton and West Ham, it at least afforded other members of Villa’s squad to get up and running for the season. With players like Anwar El Ghazi stepping up to a degree, it’s allowed Smith to exercise caution bringing his loanee midfielder back into the fold.
“The fact the weather was turning cold we didn’t want to risk Ross (against West Brom),” added Smith.
“As I’ve said before it is an injury where we didn’t want to take any risks.”
Ezri Konsa Return
Another absentee has been centre-back Ezri Konsa, who has missed Villa’s last two fixtures with an unspecified illness. Smith suggested Konsa would also be back on Boxing Day, but didn’t elaborate on the nature of the illness to the press.
“Ezri is still ill. At this point with the way the world is whenever anyone gets a slight illness we all worry but he will be fine too for Palace I would have thought.”
Konsa’s absence has seen Kortney Hause impress in both the Burnley and West Brom games, although both teams were tailor made for his aerial ability.
Aston Villa lead the Premier League in terms of having the highest average shots per game tally. Currently they lead the way with a 16.2 shot per game average, with Manchester City second on 15.8 and Liverpool third with 15.5.
Barkley will no doubt hope with Villa creating so many chances in game, he’ll be able to add to his tally of two goals in five appearances.