Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Aston Villa: Dubravka may be Olsen upgrade

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Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery did not make wholesale changes to his squad in the January transfer window, with only two additions last month.

The Spaniard, who replaced Steven Gerrard at the helm earlier this season, brought in Jhon Duran and Alex Moreno from Chicago Fire and Real Betis respectively to bolster his options at the top end of the pitch and in defence.

Emery may now have one eye on what he wants to do in the summer transfer window and could be working with Johan Lange to identify targets to improve the squad heading into the 2023/24 campaign.

One area in which there could be some change at Villa Park next season is between the sticks. Football Insider recently reported that the club are eyeing up Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka as they consider potential replacements for Emi Martinez, who is attracting interest from across Europe.

Would Martin Dubravka be a good signing for Aston Villa?

Whilst Lange and Emery may be looking at players who could take over from their current number one, Villa must attempt to sign Dubravka to replace Robin Olsen in the summer.

The Villans could form an excellent goalkeeping department by keeping hold of Martinez, assuming that the manager wants to keep him, and bringing in a superb second-choice to push him hard for a starting place.

Unfortunately, Olsen is not good enough to provide serious competition to the Argentina international. The Swedish giant has conceded seven goals in three games in the Premier League this season – saving just 56% of shots on his goal – and let in 1.5 goals more than the xG against him suggests that the average goalkeeper would have.

He also struggled in his Carabao Cup appearance against Manchester United in November, conceding a goal half of the eight shots that he faced and making one error directly leading to a goal.

Dubrakva – who Paul Robinson once hailed as an “inspirational signing” for Newcastle – has conceded 6.7 fewer goals than the xG faced has suggested that he should since the start of the 2019/20 campaign in the Premier League, which shows that the Slovakian colossus is a superb shot-stopper who is able to bail out his defence consistently.

By stark contrast, Olsen – who conceded 17 goals from 12.7 xG faced for Sheffield United in 2021/22 – has been letting his defence down by allowing low-quality shots to beat him.

Would Martin Dubravka be a good signing?

The £50k-per-week dud has not done enough to suggest that he is good enough to truly push Martinez for his place, and that is why Villa could land a big upgrade on the Sweden international by signing Dubravka, who is a proven Premier League performer based on his impressive statistics in recent years.

The Newcastle ace would offer far more between the sticks, as he has the quality to save the team points with his shot-stopping, whereas Olsen has been costing Villa with his lack of ability to stop the ball going past him.



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