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Explained: Why Douglas Luiz was left out of Aston Villa’s defeat at Arsenal


Dean Smith has explained his decision to leave Douglas Luiz out of Aston Villa’s squad at Arsenal was purely tactical.

Eyebrows were raised when Sunday’s team-sheet was revealed and the midfielder, a summer signing from Manchester City, was nowhere to be seen.

The 21-year-old has already made five Premier League appearances for Villa, including a cameo as late substitute in the 0-0 draw against West Ham United on Monday night.

But with Smith bringing Trezeguet back into the side for Jota, the Villa head coach felt he needed the right balance on the bench with Luiz consequently left out.

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Douglas Luiz of Aston Villa is challenged by Jeffery Schlupp of Crystal Palace

“I had a decision to make,” Smith explained in his post-match interview with on Twitter. “Trezeguet came back and I’ve got Conor (Hourihane), Henri (Lansbury) and Douglas.

“I was pleased with Marvelous’ (Nakamba) performance against West Ham United and I just felt I didn’t need three midfielders on the bench, I needed Keinan Davis and Jota on there as well.

“Two defenders, two midfielders and two forwards.”

Despite twice having held the lead after goals from John McGinn and Wesley Moraes, Villa lost 3-2 at The Emirates with mistakes costing them dearly.

 

Smith said: “We gave three stupid goals away. We’ve planted a foot in the penalty box and I don’t think any player in this league needs much encouragement to go down.

“They get a penalty and we try and cushion a header in the six-yard box and they pounce and score when it should be going out for a corner. We then play a straight pass into midfield, they win it and break.

“The be all and end all, I felt at 1-0 and 2-1, there were periods where we tried to get the next goal but, on the whole, we tried to hold onto the lead rather than extend it. That was the difference, we could have extended the lead and won it comfortably.

“But, for whatever reasons at times in the second half, we retracted and, if you do that against good players they can cause you problems.”





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