Matthew Lowton has lost his spot in the Aston Villa starting 11 to Bacuna, a summer arrival from FC Groningen. The versatile player has already played in numerous positions including ring winger, central midfielder and right-back. Bacuna reminds of the former versatile Villa player Reo-Coker in that aspect, I still to this day believe that Reo-Coker was a very good player for us. Matthew Lowton joined Aston Villa from a League 1 side and was very successful last season demonstrating that he could in-fact make the step from League 1 to Premier League. Lowton scored 2 goals, created 4 assists and was arguably our strongest defender last season. He was linked to Fulham and Arsenal during the season, in-fact I heard that the England staff were also impressed by the development of the defender. This season he hasn’t achieved any success, hasn’t kept any clean sheet’s and whenever he’s played, the right side of defence looks really weak.
One theory, (that I believe was developed on this site) suggests that Lowton’s new contract affected him mentally. Usually if a player is affected mentally it has an affect on his game, we’ve seen this Rooney, Bridge and Torres in the past. But could Lowton have gotten too cocky? Has he gotten too overconfident in his starting role? Perhaps that is the answer, Clark is another player that has been offered a new contract, but he has been superb this year. The only difference I could find is that Clark did serve plenty of time on the bench at the beginning of the season. It appears as bench time, and extra competition has improved Clark’s performances. The young Irish defender had a torrid pre-season as well and was offered a new contract, like Lowton.
You can never rule out second-season-syndrome. A known football curse has struck players and teams. This happens whenever a player/club has had a terrific first season in the Premier League, but in the second, the player has become to predictable and ultimately very ineffective. In fact one of the reason clubs didn’t want to play 25 million price tag for Benteke was because of the threat of ‘second-season syndrome’. It surely hasn’t affect the Belgian but it may have affected Lowton. I’m sure that Lowton will get a chance to play again but only if Bacuna or the defence have an really torrid game in the future.
There’s one many factor that comes to mind, conceivably something may have occurred behind the scenes at Villa Park. So far this season I’ve heard of two ‘scandals’, Jack Wilshire’s smoking and Zaha allegedly sleeping with Moyes’s daughter. Lambert can hold a grudge of player, but Lowton isn’t old, his wages aren’t astronomically high either so we can rule out Lambert’s more traditional reasons to hold a grudge. But you can never rule out the fact that a third mystery factor is keeping Lowton out of the side. It may not be as serious as the Zaha and Wilshire example I’ve listed above, but maybe he’s out with his family or did some harm on the training ground.
I just want to stress that I don’t want to create rumours and speculation over Matthew Lowton, I just wanted to report on how shocked I am that he’s lost so much form and hasn’t even appeared on the substitute bench over the last few games. I hope he finds his feet soon. Hopefully the arrival of Bacuna will motivate him to improve or at least return to the ‘last-season Lowton’.