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Declan’s mega task this weekend

Declan Rice has a huge task this weekend as he bids to keep Philippe Coutinho quiet against Aston Villa.

The Brazilian has been nothing short of a magician for the Villans since arriving on loan from Barcelona in the January transfer window.

Coutinho has made eight appearances since his arrival from the Camp Nou and has scored four goals, while registering three assists.

At the weekend, he was central as Villa thumped Southampton 4-0, scoring once and providing an assist, before netting in the 3-0 win over Leeds in midweek.

With Coutinho in the team, Villa have scored nine goals in their last three games, compared to the Hammers’ one goal in three games.

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It is a tough task to beat Steven Gerrard’s side, then, and one has to think that Declan will be shackled to Coutinho in a bid to stop him pulling the strings from midfield.

Villa usually operate with two strikers, so the defence will undoubtedly be occupied trying to stop both Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings, meaning that it’ll be Rice trying to stop Coutinho.

It’s a major task but if anything can do it then it’s the best defensive midfielder in the country.

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About Dave Langton

A journalist with 10 years' experience of working on National newspapers, now chief reporter covering the club that I've loved since I was a boy. Upton Park remains the greatest football stadium ever built.