Saturday, January 28, 2023

Will Marked Man Emiliano Martinez Be A Help Or Hindrance To Aston Villa In The Remainder Of The 2022/23 Season?

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Bernard Ford
A Leicester City fan. Wants respect from the 'London based' media for clubs outside the bubble.

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez may be a hero in his homeland of Argentina after his penalty shootout heroics in the 2022 World Cup final, but it will be interesting to see how he’s treated by fans other than those of Aston Villa when he is back in the Premier League.

How the Argentine stopper performs in the Premier League for Villa will be vital for the remainder of the season. His performances may go a long way to deciding whether the club stays up or go down. Meaning from Villa’s perspective, they don’t need any added distractions for Martinez.

Villa still in relegation danger despite recent run

A few weeks back Villa were in real relegation danger, but their recent form has left them at a far longer Premier League bet of 10/1 to be relegated. As good as Martinez is, if he returns to England not in the right frame of mind then Villa being relegated could become one of the more realistic Premier League football tips for the second half of the Premier League season.

Aston Villa haven’t had a great season to date. They sacked Steven Gerrard in late October, replacing him with Unai Emery.

The move had the desired effect in the short term with Villa winning three of their last four matches. But the Claret and Blues are far from out of the danger zone, and the last thing they need is a goalkeeper returning to the club whose head might not be where they need it to be.

Martinez will need to be prepared for stick from opposition fans

Football fans have long memories, and no one will forget what Martinez did during his nation’s penalty shootout win over France to win their third World Cup. The chances are he will get stick from opposing fans when he returns to the Premier League, but will it have any real effect on Martinez and his Villa side?

The chances are it won’t. If Martinez can hold his nerve to win a World Cup, then there’s a more than good enough chance he will be well able to cope with abusive fans from other clubs.

But it won’t just be off the pitch that the 2022 Golden Glove winner will have made enemies in the Premier League, it’s on it as well.

Some players might not be too happy with the Villa stopper either

A couple of names who have been affected by the antics of Martinez are Raphaël Varane of France and Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands. Varane would have witnessed the keeper’s behaviour firsthand in the final shootout. He won’t be forgetting that in a hurry. And in Argentina’s quarter-final win over the Netherlands, Martinez more than played his part in turning that affair into a niggly encounter that left the Dutch feeling hard done by.

Martinez was also outspoken after that fixture, making reference to Louis van Gaal’s claim that the Dutch would have the advantage if the match went to a shootout. In fairness to Martinez, he had every right to defend himself against those remarks, and in fairness, he has been proven right as well.

Ultimately, the chances are Martinez will be fine when he returns to Aston Villa. But it does have to be noted that Unai Emery and Villa can’t afford too many mistakes. So if Martinez is slightly distracted from the job in hand after his World Cup heroics, then Villa could still end up being in danger of relegation.

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