Thursday, 14 April 2016

Tommy Elphick just slips back in effortlessly

It had been a stretch of seven months that Tommy Elphick had been sat out missing Premier League matches before his return at Aston Villa last weekend. While he did get to play in the FA Cup it has been a slow return for the captain and his presence on the pitch was very helpful in a game like the team had against a nearly relegated Villa side.

The captain is back.
From the start I thought Tommy was carrying out his captain's duties with great enthusiasm. He certainly is in control when he is on the pitch and there is a kind of safety in just seeing him out there as it is familiar. Rather than do anything extravagant we also see the basics just done well when Tommy is playing. He gives and receives or clears a ball out if there is a problem. His first thought always seems to be can I find a player and if I can't put it out of play or as high up the pitch as I can. It may not make him the best incisive passer but he wins the headers and gets the ball to those who can hurt the opposition.  

The one side of his game where he will want improvement s when he is back pedalling and attackers are racing towards goal. Getting the timing right of his challenge is not that simple and against Villa he will look back at the clip and see that he waited perhaps too long to stand his ground when Jordan Ayew scored. Some of the advice should also be coming from those around him though and it would be helpful to see a bit more talking at the back at times.

As a first game back though, Tommy must have been relatively pleased with his game. Competition to stay in the side has never been higher and for Tommy it is just about playing games now and seeing how well he can play before the games run out.

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