Aston Villa recovered from their 3-1 defeat to Newcastle by thrashing Sheffield United 5-0 to move back into the Premier League’s top four. It was Villa’s biggest away win since the 2007/08 season, when they beat Derby County 6-0 at Pride Park.
One concern for Villa fans, though, was that Ezri Konsa failed to complete 90 minutes for just the third time this season after going down injured. Unai Emery tried to calm fears after the game by insisting that Konsa’s withdrawal was tactical rather than enforced.
The Spaniard is already dealing with a considerable injury list, topped by season-long absentees Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings, both of whom have damaged their anterior cruciate ligament. Left-back Lucas Digne is expected to be back this month, but Jhon Duran may be out until April.
Now, Villa reporter John Townley has shared a fresh update on Konsa, and unfortunately it appears that Emery’s initial confidence was misplaced, with the defender facing a spell on the sidelines.
Konsa out for up to a month
Townley reports that Konsa will be “out for three to four weeks” following an update from Emery in his press conference ahead of Wednesday night’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against Chelsea. The 26-year-old has suffered a sprained knee and could miss four Premier League games, starting with Sunday’s home game against Manchester United.
In a timely boost for Villa, though, another of their defenders is back available for the clash with Mauricio Pochettino’s side. Pau Torres is set to return to the matchday squad having resumed full training at Bodymoor Heath.
“Incredible” Konsa is Emery’s most trusted player
It’s no exaggeration to say that Konsa has become one of Villa’s most important players under Emery. A tactical weapon who can play as either a centre-back or a right-back, he’s started every single league game so far, as well as 10 of Villa’s 12 matches in the domestic cups and Europa Conference League. In total, he’s been on the field for 2,823 mins, more than anybody else in the squad.
In the Premier League specifically, he ranks sixth among outfielders for playing time, as you can see in the table below. Unfortunately, he’ll have lost a lot of ground in that leaderboard by the time he returns.
Premier League players
Team-mate Matty Cash has dubbed Konsa an “incredible” player who should be regarded as “one of the best Premier League centre-backs”, and the stats justify that assessment. He’s won a higher share of his challenges (88.9%) than any other player in the top-flight this term.
Steve Bruce makes “colossal” Aston Villa transfer claim
The former Villa boss was speaking exclusively to Football FanCast.
Torres’ comeback certainly softens the blow for Villa, but it remains to be seen how much their Champions League aspirations suffer without a player who’s been among the first names on the teamsheet all season.