Marvelous Nakamba was brought to Villa to rotate as a midfield battler. A true box-to-box man who shuttles forward to deliver the killer ball while delivering the tackles and the pressing to afford bite to a midfield.
However, in Marvelous’ first outing - the Carabao Cup second round matchup against Crewe - something spectacular happened. Villa scored six. Crewe scored one. We’re not here to talk about goals tonight though. We’re here to talk about style. The little flicks and flourishes that really capture this beautiful game of ours, and one amazing bit of trickery.
In one moment, Marvelous Nakamba showed his flair:
With his back to a Crewe player, Nakamba deftly spun the ball into an avenue through the aggressor’s legs. It wasn’t as simple as a dribbling nutmeg or another ordinary delight though, Marvelous added layers and layers to this spectacular move. Firstly, he used his rear leg, while moving backwards, and using only a single touch. All of this builds the facade before tearing it away to leave the player in the dust.
You have to feel for the opposition. Absolutely roasted, they were. They showed up, fought well, but were just as well beaten by a Villa team that even under pressure never truly seemed troubled. Lower-league opponents HAVE to show up for these cup rounds that are often taken for granted, and come what may, have to deal with whatever is chucked at them. There isn’t much glory in beating a team of rotated players, nor being beaten by a team of rotated players. Especially when the opposition are relentless in their desire to simply have fun.
Have fun, against you.
This flourishes of brilliance are often noted as pointless, but the depth that Nakamba added to his trickery opened up a pathway for him to comfortably advance with the ball away from pressure. Without this move, he’s stuck. With this move, he’s unlocked the press. Even if the manoeuvre was ‘pointless’ - you’d still rather see things like this emerge in the game. The childlike wonder of the ‘what if’ rather than regimented structure of the entire match itself. Nakamba dared to do, and pulled off a wonder move in his first game.
The player’s very name familiarises us with the unexpected - and the beautiful. However, there exists an element amongst us which may voice concern - that we shouldn’t get carried away with things like Nakamba’s nutmeg, but why not? If not now, when?