It's been a tough couple of weeks for Aston Villa fans, with many wishing the Premier League hadn't resumed at all. They have continued to struggle, and after three losses and two draws from their opening five games of the restart they find themselves firmly in the relegation zone.
Conor Hourihane has been more involved of late, with Dean Smith still finding his best midfield and the stats show that the Irish man is perhaps Villa's most dangerous weapon, even if he didn't feature in their last outing against Liverpool.
In the four matches prior to that Liverpool defeat, Hourihane made 13 key passes in total, the most from any player since the Premier League has returned. That is one more than Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, despite playing 70 minutes less than the Belgian international.
The Corkman has also made more key passes since the restart than players such as Son Heung-Min (9), Mohamed Salah (11), and Adama Traoré (5).
📊 Premier League stat leaders since lockdown
🥅 Most Shots: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 17
🔐 Most Key Passes: Conor Hourihane - 13
🤤 Most Dribbles: Allan Saint-Maximin - 21
💪 Most Tackles: James Justin - 19 pic.twitter.com/Ltre7DMoTr
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 7, 2020
Unfortunately for Hourihane, the Villa forwards haven't been able to convert these into assists so the Cork man has also managed to bag just the one assist in those games.
Hourihane has 11 months left on his contract at Villa Park and has been in and out of the side this season, meaning his future may depend on whether the club can avoid relegation, with Hourihane admitting back in February that he had become frustrated with the lack of playing time he was getting.
"I’m in a little bit of a frustrating period at the minute," he said, to Birmingham Live. "I haven’t really played the last four or so I think it is now.”
Hourihan’s recent form will be a boost for new Ireland manager Stephen Kenny as key passes have been something the national side has struggled with for a while and something he'll be looking to improve on during his time as manager.