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Will John McGinn be Aston Villa’s Saviour?

John McGinn will return for Aston Villa as the Premier League nears kick-off next week. The Villa midfielder suffered an ankle injury in December but is now fully fit.

25-year-old McGinn formed a strong central midfield partnership with Jack Grealish last season. This will provide manager Dean Smith with plenty of hope in the coming weeks as his side battle relegation.

Will John McGinn be Aston Villa’s Saviour?

Return to Fitness

McGinn is match fit ahead of the Premier League restart next week. He suffered a fractured ankle during the 3-1 loss to Southampton in December.

The Scottish midfielder was scheduled to return for Villa after the March international break. However, the league’s suspension provided necessary time for the midfielder to return to fitness.

McGinn was central to Dean Smith’s starting 11 earlier in the season. Before his injury, McGinn started 17 consecutive games for Villa between October and December, playing 90 minutes in each fixture.

He also contributed with two assists and three goals for Villa this season. McGinn particularly impressed in the 2-0 win over Everton in October and in the 2-2 draw with Burnley in September.

Villa continued to struggle and lost four consecutive Premier League matches before the league was suspended. Without McGinn, Smith’s side only won three Premier League matches in their last ten.

Villa take on Sheffield United next Wednesday (June 17) in the first Premier League match since March 9. Dean Smith’s side occupies 19th position, but they are just two points from safety with a game hand.

McGinn will be a welcome boost for Dean Smith’s side and the Scot could prove to be the decisive figure for Villa’s difficult run-in.

Partnership with Grealish

While Villa’s recent form largely stems from a leaky defence, conceding 11 in their last four matches, their ability to finish off opponents also proved costly this season.

Jack Grealish leads the way for goals (7) and assists (6) in the squad. But, McGinn would provide an extra attacking threat. Both midfielders top the stats for attempted shots in the Villa squad (2.1 each per game). They also attempt more dribbles than their teammates, Grealish 2.2 per game and McGinn 2.3, and produce the most key passes (2.7 and 1.5 respectively.)

The duo worked so well last season in the Championship. They complimented each other well and cemented a strong partnership at the heart of the team, providing a consistent attacking threat. But they also show a strong tenacity and work rate to win the ball back, especially McGinn, who attempted 2.5 tackles per game this season.

It is clear Grealish and McGinn will need to hit the ground running against a hard-working, disciplined Sheffield United side. But, if they find form early on in the restart, they could provide the difference between safety and relegation in the coming weeks.

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