Aston Villa fans may now begin rejoicing, for Jack Grealish has returned to first-team training after missing the last six weeks due to a shin injury.
UPDATE: Grealish, who did not feature in Aston Villa’s 3-1 win over Fulham last weekend due to fitness issues, suffered a setback in his recovery and will again be out this weekend. Manager Dean Smith admitted, “We all, Jack included, probably pushed him back a little bit too quickly.”
Grealish last featured for Aston Villa in the side’s 0-0 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion back on February 13. His return was given the red-carpet treatment on social media, with good reason.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) March 29, 2021
Grealish has been, undeniably, one of the best players in the Premier League this season (6 goals, 12 assists; 3.4 key passes per game – most in the PL) and should garner serious consideration for Team of the Year. Perhaps the greatest argument to be made in favor of Grealish is his side’s record without him — 1W-2D-3L — during his recent six-game absence, which included a demoralizing defeat to last-place, 10-man Sheffield United.
Aston Villa only managed to score three goals during Grealish’s absence. Furthermore, Dean Smith’s side hasn’t scored multiple goals in a game its 3-2 loss to Burnley on Jan. 27 — a span of 10 games which also predated Grealish’s injury. Aston Villa are without back-to-back wins in the Premier League since Boxing Day — a span of 15 games which has coincided with their inevitable fall from the top-four race.