Jermaine Jenas' absence has been a major reason for Aston Villa's struggles this campaign, admitted boss Alex McLeish. The midfielder, who was on loan from Tottenham, was ruled out for the rest of the campaign after undergoing surgery on his left Achilles tendon in December.

"We have probably lacked a guy who can take the ball in midfield and pass it this season," the Villa boss said following the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal.

"We've got more dynamic players and a young player in Chris Herd who's learning his trade.

"The loss of Jermaine Jenas at the start of the season was a big one.

"I recognised at the start of the season that we needed a player who could create from the centre so that has been a bit of a loss for us.

"We've still got a few more points than some teams below and we've got to try to get further up the table."

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