When Emiliano Buendia curled home his first goal for Aston Villa, the Argentine was greeted with a deafening roar from the home supporters inside the stadium.
Club-record signing Buendia, brought in from Norwich in the summer for £33m, announced himself to the raucous Villa faithful, collecting Danny Ings’ pass and caressing a delightful finish into the corner.
Buendia’s lovely strike was the equaliser for Villa against Brentford and although Dean Smith’s side could not find a winning goal, there were signs of a bright future following the departure of Jack Grealish.
Buendia ‘shows glimpses’ of potential
England international Grealish was the undoubted star man at Villa and has settled in at Manchester City with a goal and an assist in his opening three games.
City paid a handsome Premier League record £100m to prise captain Grealish away from Villa Park this summer, and his number 10 shirt was handed to Buendia.
The Argentine scored 15 goals and provided 17 assists last season as the Canaries won the Championship title.
In his previous spell in the Premier League he created 83 chances for his team-mates, a figure beaten only by Kevin de Bruyne (136), Grealish (91) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (87).
Fellow summer signing Ings had scored two goals in his opening two games for Villa, but turned provider on Saturday, passing the ball across for Buendia to slot in.
The roles were almost reversed in the second half when Buendia’s attempted through ball nearly found the run of Ings, who could not quite latch on to the pass.
“That is why he brought him [Buendia] in, that is what he can do,” said Smith. “He nearly put Danny Ings in and showed us glimpses of why we bought him.
“It was important for him [to get off the mark], we know the quality he gives us.”
‘I took the responsibility of the 10 shirt’
Buendia operated mostly from the right, as opposed to Grealish who featured mainly from the left, and highlighted his work rate in defensive situations too, making a match-high four tackles and winning the ball back nine times – more than any other Villa player.
He topped BBC Sport’s ratings for Villa players too, but the side have so far displayed inconsistent results, with a defeat, one victory and a draw from their opening three games.
Buendia said: “It was disappointing not to get the win. We did a lot of good things.”It’s lovely for me to help the team with this goal. It is a nice pressure. I took the responsibility to take the number 10 shirt from Jack, who was a great player.
“I will do my best to help the team get results.”
Villa, though, failed to create too many clear-cut opportunities against an impressive Brentford outfit that remain unbeaten following promotion from the Championship.
Former Bees striker Ollie Watkins could have won it with two chances in injury time, but saw his header and low drive saved by goalkeeper David Raya.
With players including summer signing Leon Bailey, Bertrand Traore and John McGinn out injured, Villa look like they possess the depth to spread out the goals and assists following the departure of talisman Grealish.
Smith added: “We are still trying to build fluidity, have players out but are getting the relationships and getting to know each other.
“I saw things I liked at times and [Buendia] scored a good goal as well.”
- Our coverage of your Premier League club is bigger and better than ever before – here’s everything you need to know to make sure you never miss a moment