The goalkeeping situation at Aston Villa has been a cause for concern initially for Steve Bruce and now for current incumbent Dean Smith, with Lovre Kalinić, Ørjan Nyland, Jed Steer and Mark Bunn all making first team appearances so far this season.
But this is perhaps a situation that need not have happened, had they held onto 26-year-old Manchester United keeper Sam Johnstone who spent one-and-a-half seasons on-loan at Villa Park from January 2017.
But would Villa have been higher in the table if they had Johnstone in goal this season?
“They needed a consistent in the goalkeeping department, chopping and changing hasn’t worked.
“Whether that was Johnstone or somebody else, it would’ve helped them be more established in the promotion race.
“The defensive unit hasn’t been able to get used to each other at all.”
“I really do think so.
“Villa have no end of problems in between the sticks this season, and have failed to hand a consistent run of games to a number one.
“He was superb last season and could have been impressive once again.”
“The likes of Nyland and Kalinic have made some huge errors but I am not sure many of them have directly cost Villa points.
“Losing Grealish for so long and having a shambolic back line were much bigger problems.”
“It would have alleviated all their goalkeeper concerns that plagued them all season.
“If Johnstone was to have moved to the club after his loan spell – then it could well have been a much better campaign than they have had.
“Sometimes the difference is one man – and that could well have been the goalkeeper.”