Aston Villa Beginning to Meet Emery’s Control Expectations

Villa Analysis: Dominant Villa Meet Expectations In Comfortable Victory

By Alex Martinez

Aston Villa demonstrated how they can increasingly take care of lower half Premier League teams by controlling games, as they made it 12 wins in a row at home against a lacklustre Luton Town side. Goals from Moussa Diaby, John Mcginn, and an own goal from Tom Lockyer made the three points safe, before a clumsy mix up involving Ezri Konsa and Emi Martinez gave the visitors a consolation. 

A decisive factor to Villa’s dominance was their 71% possession. Whether it was holding the ball in defensive areas, or keeping the ball throughout the channels, Villa looked extremely comfortable on the ball, admittedly they were allowed to hold the ball and wait for movements.

How Not to Play Villa

Luton chose to absorb most of Villa’s dominance, often having six defenders across the backline and three midfielders immediately in front of them to try to block the channels and passing lanes. This was emphasised by Villa having 77% possession at half-time. 

Luton allowed Villa to play the ball around the defence, midfield areas and channels. Both of Villa’s defenders had over 100 touches, showing how comfortable the defence were allowed to be in possession. It allowed Villa to perfect their build-up play, and probe for openings in Luton’s rearguard. It also allowed Villa to dictate the tempo, and impose their style of the game.

Only in the second half did Villa get sloppy on the ball, allowing counter attacks, which happened mainly down the right, as Matty Cash pushed forward to create the overlap.

Luton’s 18 progressive passes, compared to Villa’s 45 showed just how defensive Luton played.

Villa’s Shape

There’s a distinctly fluid nature to Emery’s formation, which operates beyond the 4-4-2, it reads like on the page. Both Lucas Digne and Matty Cash operate like wing-backs in possession, with Boubacar Kamara stepping back into defence to often create a 3-5-2 when Villa attack, while Douglas Luiz gets involved higher up in a central midfield position.

The use of Moussa Diaby playing off Ollie Watkins in a secondary striker role, has been a game changer for Villa, instead of him playing strictly in a wider position. There’s an unpredictability to where he operates during a game, making it hard for defences to pin him down. If Leon Bailey is on the pitch at the same time, then it also creates a triple threat down the right-hand side of Diaby, Bailey and Cash, which has reaped rewards this season.

The fact that Emery has started eight players for every Premier League game, with Pau Torres playing nine and coming on a sub in one and Emi Martinez only missing out one game due to injury, shows he has a set 10 players in his starting line-ups at the moment. This has helped breed familiarity with Emery’s instructions, which is paying off in results. Compare that to Villa’s next opponents Nottingham Forest, who’s only ever present starter has been their goalkeeper.

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Moussa Diaby

Villa’s record signing, recorded his first Villa Park goal, with Diaby dispatching it on the half volley perfectly into the bottom corner.

His stats for the game:

1 goal, 74% pass accuracy, 1 shot on target, 50% dribble completion rate, 1 key pass, 1 big chance created, 7.9 sofascore rating (best in match)

His pace was a problem for the Luton backline, and his assist to the own goal by Lockyer was a testament to this. Boubacar Kamara played the ball over the defensive line, and Moussa unleashed his speed and was able to pounce on the ball and spray it across the box, where it got inadvertently turned into the net by a Luton player. 

A comfortable win and possession dominated, it capped off a perfect week. It’s now 20 goals in five matches at Villa Park, a true fortress is being built.

After the upcoming trip to Forest, sees the visit of Fulham at home. Two winnable games, and a chance for Villa to entrench themselves into the top five, before the sterner tests ahead.


Additional reporting from MOMS

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