Cameron Archer’s filthy drop of the shoulder proves he will be a star for Aston Villa

Cameron Archer has been on fire for Middlesbrough in the Championship and it is now only a matter of time before Unai Emery unleashes him on the Premier League.

The Aston Villa loanee had spent the first half of the season at Villa Park, but his opportunities were scarce under Steven Gerrard. He only played 44 minutes of league football before it was decided he would head out on loan in January.

Archer had spent the second half of the 2021-22 season on loan with Preston North End and he more than made an impact. He scored seven goals while in Lancashire and quickly became a fan favourite at Deepdale.

Considering Middlesborough are flying in the Championship under Michael Carrick, this seemed like the perfect move for the youngster in January.

He quickly settled into his new environment and had notable performances against the likes of Cardiff and Sheffield United. However, he saved his best performance of the season for a game against Preston.

His movement in and around the box makes him almost impossible to pick up. Even in the tightest of situations, Archer still manages to find a shooting opportunity.

He stole the show at the Riverside this weekend with two goals and an assist during Middlesbrough’s 4-0 win over Preston. The pick of the goals? It has to be Archer’s first.

With one drop of the shoulder, he is able to put Bambo Diaby on the floor before he twists Jordan Storey inside out. The cultured finish is the icing on the cake as he smashes it into the far post.

There’s been plenty of talk around Aston Villa signing a new striker in the summer, but Unai Emery might have already found his new secret weapon in Archer.

His second goal from outside the box wasn’t too shabby either, albeit the goalkeeper probably could have done better for that one. Archer was withdrawn in the 82nd minute after his work for the afternoon had been completed.

Having played 12 league games played for Middlesbrough, Archer has six goals and three assists to his name already. In the Championship this season, he has averaged a goal contribution every 94.3 minutes which is a staggering return.

In February, Emery explained his decision to let Archer go out on loan. “His moment is to play minutes, to score goals and to try and improve. I spoke with him about it and he had the same idea,” Emery told BirminghamLive.

“Here, of course he can play because he played when he was here. For him, it’s very important to take confidence, to play and to be competitive and, of course, to score goals like he is doing and we are very happy for him and, of course, it’s a good decision we made and shared with him.”

Carrick seems to be getting the best out of Archer as a number nine, with Chuba Akpom playing behind him in a free role. If they carry on scoring then we will be seeing Middlesborough in the Premier League in no time.

“He’s smart and he’s clever,” Carrick told reporters in February when discussing Archer. “His link-up play and all-round game, for being a little bit smaller, he uses his body really well.”

They say never fall in love with loan players, but we have a feeling that it will be too late for Middlesbrough fans. Emery will be keenly watching on and pondering his new secret weapon for next season.

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