‘Gabby Gabby Gabby Agbonlahor, statistically unlikely to score’ is how the chant goes right? But let me clear something up for those that don't know and before I get started; I love Gabby because he's Villa through and through.
The memory of Gabby that sticks in my mind was the season under McLeish, we’d just lost a game against Bolton after being 1-0 up at Villa Park. It sent us near the foot of the table with three matches left and things looked desperate. As Bolton celebrated their second and winning goal (literally minutes after we took the lead), my eyes turned to Gabby who was knelt down, side of the pitch, almost in tears.
It hurt him as much as me and the other Villa fans round me. You can’t buy that or force that, it comes from being a loyal player who loves the club. Loyalty is in short supply as we’ve found out this summer with Delph. But the Premier League has little room for sentiment.
After Sherwood’s comments about the old heads helping the new boys settle in, the debate raged on an Aston Villa Facebook page about Gabby. Some fans demanding he be kept in the team, others wishing he’d leave altogether.
Me? I go down the middle. We need players like Gabby. However, we only need them on the pitch when performing at the required level. Too often, like in the Manchester United game, his movement was lacking, his first touch poor and his pace no longer good enough to frighten defenders.
Keep Gabby around the squad, have him on the bench to come on and give tired defenders the run around to make space for others but ultimately you have to ask; would he get into any other starting eleven in the Premier League? I have my doubts for all but the newly promoted sides. He is a squad player and a good one, but he has to be dropped to give our new look attack a chance.
Next time, let’s have a big rousing chorus of the Gabby chant, but let’s have it when he comes off the bench.