How Aston Villa’s Forgotten Man Built an Unlikely Legacy
With reports linking Egyptian winger Trezeguet with a move to Turkey, it’s increasingly likely Villa fans have seen the last of the much-maligned winger.
Of course, Trez has already earned his place in the Villa history books.
My first sight of Trezeguet, was in the first game of Villa’s return to the Premier League, away at Tottenham Hotspur.
During that first half, he was put through and shot weakly at Hugo Lloris. I remembered thinking, I’d never seen a winger look so slow or so exhausted in my life.
Over the course of that season, Trezeguet popped up with what would soon be his trademark finish at the back post against Wolves, but more often than not his performances were derided.
Despite this, he always worked hard and wore his heart on his sleeve as he missed chances and generally made all the wrong runs.
With the season turning into a disaster, Villa had the distraction of a League Cup semi-final against Leicester City.
With the tie level on aggregate and a penalty shoot-out looming at Villa Park in the second leg, Elmohamady floated the ball to the back post and Trezeguet applied the finish on the volley.
Cue pitch invasion and the highlight of an awful season and unbeknown to many, an awful year.
Trézéguet goals kept Villa in the Premier League at the end of ‘Project Restart’, then this injury-time 🇪🇬 link-up winner took Villa to Wembley.— My Old Man Said HQ (@myoldmansaid) June 21, 2022
An indifferent time overall, but he certainly had some showreel highlights to his name.pic.twitter.com/0m8fOlQR0h#AVFC
Fast forward through the awful first months of Covid-19 and lockdown and we came to the Project Restart period, that gave Villa a chance to save their Premier League status.
Of course in traditional Villa fashion, this was another disaster until the final four games.
With Aston Villa seven points from safety, it looked bleak. A Sunday lunchtime kick-off against Crystal Palace was treated with resignation among many fans.
Of course, the hero of the hour is usually an unlikely one, and up stepped Trezeguet, ably assisted by Connor Hourihane to score both goals in a win that kept the season alive.
Results went Villa’s way and after a disappointing draw at Everton, a home win against Arsenal – for the first time since the infamous Santa Claus parachuting incident – was needed.
Step up Villa’s saviour once again, as Trezeguet connected with a Hourihane corner at the back post to hit the ball harder than he had before or since.
If only there had been fans in the ground, Trezeguet may have got the plaudits he deserved for his magical moment. Like Phil King against Inter Milan, Shaun Teale against Tranmere and Savo Milosevic against Leeds.
While Jack Grealish’s goal against West Ham (not his own goal moments later) was credited with Villa’s survival, Trezeguet’s three goals in four matches were the heavy lifting.
So when he eventually leaves, think fondly of Trezeguet.
Try to overlook his ability to miss the easiest of chances or him looking exhausted after mere minutes, and please don’t remember the dive against Brentford in his last Villa appearance.
Just think of his unlikely arrivals at the back post, which earned a trip to Wembley and gave Aston Villa the platform for survival.