View: Growing pains behind Aston Villa defensive frailties v Leicester City and not the personnel
Although many Aston Villa supporters will call for Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa to be dropped from Unai Emery’s side after shipping four goals against Leicester City, they must hold fire and let the centre-backs right their wrongs.
The Villans eventually lost 4-2 on Saturday afternoon (4 February) after taking the lead twice in the first half but gifting the Foxes three of their four goals through self-inflicted errors.
Boubacar Kamara was at fault for the first goal as he took the ball inside his own box and got caught out trying to dribble out while under pressure, while Tyrone Mings and Lucas Digne parted like the Red Sea for Kelechi Iheanacho to nod home Leicester’s second.
Dennis Praet made it four when Alex Moreno fluffed his clearance and consequently left the winger one-on-one against Emi Martinez, to which he converted with ease.
And although the Villa Park faithful will be frustrated at the result and won’t enjoy watching their side concede four silly goals, these are the growing pains they must witness if the club are to take the next steps in their progression.
Since coming into the club, Emery has insisted his side plays out from the back on a regular basis, with his centre-backs and goalkeeper needing to feel comfortable with the ball at their feet while under pressure.
However, following a similar error which gifted Brighton an opening goal in the 2-1 win before the World Cup break, and now witnessing this series of unfortunate errors on Saturday, fans have been criticising Villa’s lack of activity to buy a centre-back in the January transfer window.
This, however, is not the way forward. It was never going to be an instant recipe for success, as the likes of Martinez, Mings and Konsa were never asked to play in this manner under Dean Smith or even Steven Gerrard.
They aren’t going to turn into Manchester City-esq ball-playing defenders overnight, and the Villa fanbase must have patience that Emery can strike the right balance and instil the correct mentality in his back-four.
In the past month alone, Villa’s two English centre-backs were being highly praised for defensive masterclasses versus the likes of Tottenham and Southampton, and they will return to this form if Emery keeps faith in them.
However, with consecutive fixtures against Manchester City and Arsenal awaiting in the Premier League, Villa can’t afford to dish up free goals to teams with such potent attacks.
In other Aston Villa news, Galatasaray want to sign a Villa player on loan after he has fallen out of favour under Unai Emery.