Aston Villa caretaker boss Eric Black explains decision to axe Gabby Agbonlahor

Gabriel Agbonlahor

The 29-year-old striker has been dropped from the squad for Saturday's visit of Chelsea while the club carries out an internal investigation into his conduct.

Gabby Agbonlahor’s dismal season took another turn for the worst on Friday morning when Aston Villa announced that the long-serving striker would not be involved in tomorrow’s home clash with Chelsea as the club conduct an investigation into his recent behaviour.

The 29-year-old was pictured partying and seemingly smoking a shisha pipe while holidaying in Dubai over the international break [h/t Daily Mail], earning the Premier League’s bottom side even more unwanted headlines.

Team captain Micah Richards was also in the UAE, but caretaker manager Eric Black confirmed at his pre-match press conference that the defender is not under investigation.

Asked why the decision had been made to leave Agbonlahor out of Saturday’s squad, Black told reporters: “There’s an ongoing investigation which will run its course, I’m sure.

“I spoke to [new Villa director] David Bernstein at length last night. Obviously I can’t give you any more information on that as we stand, but that is underway.

“I’ve taken the decision myself I want us to focus on football matches now, so I’ve removed Gabby from the squad for Saturday,” Black continued. “We don’t need this to be about Gabby Agbonlahor, we need this to be about the 18 players who are going to play for Aston Villa.

“It’s not a big deal. It’s something that I’ve had to take the decision on. My focus is purely on Chelsea and the players that are going to contribute to that. There’s an ongoing investigation and we’ll take it from there.”

Agbonlahor has made just 15 league appearances for Villa this season, having struggled with injuries and been left out of the squad for a 10-game run over the winter following a “disagreement” with former manager Remi Garde.

The academy graduate had been on an 11-month goal drought before netting in February’s 2-0 home win over Norwich City, but he has since failed to score in his last five games as the club hurtle towards the Championship.

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