View: Alex Moreno attacking stats show he can help Aston Villa unlock stubborn Everton defence
Although he has been in and out of the side since signing for Aston Villa in the January transfer window, Alex Moreno could provide Unai Emery with the attacking output needed to break down Everton on Saturday, 25 February.
The left-back, who signed for Villa from Real Betis in a £13.3million deal, has quickly established himself as a worthy competitor to fellow full-back Lucas Digne in Emery’s first team – and it is now time he is given an extended run to prove his credentials.
Emery will need every attacking option he possesses to prise open a Toffees defence who are likely to sit back in a low block under Sean Dyche and have already recorded clean sheets in games against Arsenal and Leeds since the new manager’s arrival.
Everton’s back-four will certainly be a tough nut to crack, but if Villa are to stand a chance of claiming a result at Goodison Park, Emery must not ignore the attacking talents of Moreno.
So far from his 324 minutes of Premier League action, the 29-year-old holds a far superior offensive record to Villa’s alternative left-back option Digne.
According to WhoScored, Moreno completes 1.0 dribbles per match, which is only bettered by winger Leon Bailey, and is far superior to Digne’s 0.1 per 90 minutes. The Spaniard also has the joint highest number of key passes per game (1.2) alongside Douglas Luiz – something that could prove vital in breaking down the Toffees’ resolute defence.
When getting into the final third, Moreno isn’t afraid to have a pop at goal as well, recording 1.2 shots per game, which is triple the number of his left-back competitor Digne.
Although the Frenchman has a much larger sample size to work through than Moreno – which could therefore hinder his stats – his attacking limitations are stark. In games against those in the top-six of the Premier League, this is no issue whatsoever, but in a match where Emery’s side are set to have the large share of possession, Digne really needs to be producing more attacking returns.
Emery must heed these glaring statistics when deciding on his Aston Villa line-up for the trip to Merseyside and play the former Real Betis defender from the first whistle.
In other Aston Villa news, the club want to reunite with a former player for a fee in excess of £40million in the summer.