Rudy Gestede's debut for Villa could not have gone better. A towering header shortly after his introduction led Villa to a vital three points on opening day, and his hold up play showed real promise. But the spark that he provided against Bournemouth was absent in his cameo versus Manchester United, and his starts against Crystal Palace and Sunderland, meaning we have seen both his good and his bad. Which will we come to see on a regular basis?
Before starting, we have to realize just how early we are. We haven't seen close to the best that any of the new signings have to offer, and Gestede should follow this mold. But, regardless of this fact, the stark differences in his performances raise a lot of questions about how his future may look.
Let's start with his showing against Bournemouth. Entering early in the second half, he was thrust into a Villa side struggling to create anything and break down a stingy Bournemouth defense. After the introduction of Gestede, Villa became a whole new animal. Gestede provided an extremely useful outlet for Villa's midfield three, and he seemed to liberate Gabby Agbonlahor, who improved significantly as the game wore on. Gestede then met an Ashley Westwood corner with a thunderous leap, and became inshrined with the Villa faithful. In the final minutes, he helped Villa see out a nervy one goal lead - a debut that went exactly as planned.
Six days later, on a vivid Friday night in Birmingham, Gestede was absent from the starting lineup for Villa's clash with Manchester United. Once again, Villa struggled going forward, and his introduction was in vain as Villa couldn't find an equalizer for an invaluable home point against a top-four side. But once again, without perfect service, he struggled to create much of anything.
His underwhelming cameo was not bad enough to mean he wasn't deserving of starts against Crystal Palace and Sunderland - he certainly was. Starting with Gabby Agbonlahor at Selhurst Park, Gestede once again failed to convert any of the sub-par service provided for him (let alone truly threaten the 'keeper), and a similar story was told against Sunderland. His sharp decrease inevitably asks the question: Have we seen Rudy Gestede's best moment for the claret and blue?
The answer, surely, is no. His physical gifts are too many and his will to strong for his performances to continue in the stale state they did against Crystal Palace and Sunderland. There is no need for overreaction, inevitable as it may be. Gestede will be one of, if not the most important figure in Villa's strike force this season, and without an unexpectedly good output from him or one of his fellow strikers, Villa will be once again asking questions near the bottom of the table.
Upon the re-introductions of Jack Grealish and Adama Traore, there will be significantly more service for Gestede to attack - something that will mean the world for Gestede. He isn't a striker who excels at creating his own shot and isn't dependent on his midfielders, wingers, and outside backs - he thrives on his finishing skills; the ability to finish a chance that a flamboyant striker would miss. Gestede is no-nonsense, and regardless of his past couple performances, I believe we have a true Premier League caliber striker on our hands.
What do you think? Let us know!