Villa Analysis: Unai Emery’s Air Tight and Compact Ethos Shines

How Aston Villa Strangled Fulham for Three Points

By Alex Martinez

Villa’s 1-0 win against Fulham cemented their Europa League credentials, as the battle with Liverpool, Spurs and Brighton, hots up. Against Fulham, Tyrone Mings scored his first goal since November 2021.

Villa are now the only team in Premier League history to score in their first 20 games under a new head coach, and they’ve scored 17 in their last 10 league games. No Premier League team has won more games since Unai Emery took over, and we’ve won five straight home games for the first time since 1998.

Throw in five consecutive home clean sheets and the longest current unbeaten record in the Premier League of 10 games, and life is pretty good at B6.

Statistical Analysis

In terms of legitimate attacking, Villa clearly topped their visitors despite their measured grip on the game and a shift in attacking momentum in the final half hour of the game.

Villa had an xG of 1.02, while Fulham had just 0.11. In Danger Creation, Villa created the most chances in the centre of the final third, with an expected threat (xT), of 0.40, the most xT created then any other place on the field.

Villa had 14 shots, to Fulham’s one. Villa had eight shots inside the box, including the goal, and six shots outside of the box. Five players had more than two shot creating actions, (Ashley Young, Douglas Luiz, John Mcginn, Jacob Ramsey, Emi Buendia). Villa also had six players that registered a progressive carry, and that certainly helped create the shot creating actions.

How the attacking momentum swung during the game

Air Tight Defence

A key to Villas’ win was their defence, especially in the first half. Fulham were happy to sit deep and let Villa attempt to find pockets, and meanwhile Villa stayed in the compact 4-4-2, keeping the ball between the defenders. In fact, the back five had 330 touches combined, and every one of them had a 75% successful pass accuracy, with Ezri Konsa registering a 96% pass accuracy, the most for someone who played over 45 minutes.

In the first half alone, Villa had 67% possession, and had 287 passes, compared to Fulhams 143. They also had a 90% pass accuracy, which was fundamental to them controlling the first half, and Villa were able to dictate play from the back, and find wingers/midfielders with through balls, when the opportunity presented itself.

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Player Of The Match

Despite a somewhat conservative team performance, there was one player who stood out: Douglas Luiz. His composed aura on the field was unmatched, and he’s now playing with a new found confidence ever since Unai Emery arrived (although you could say that about most of the team). 

The Brazilian registered 30 carries, with two of them being progressive. He also had five shot creating actions, the most in the Villa squad. He is very much the backbone to this Villa team, especially in the absence of Boubacar Kamara. He had an 84% successful pass accuracy, and an 83% long ball accuracy, which was very important in breaking through the lines. He’s certainly being to step up as one of Villa’s most pivotal and influential players


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