By Jonty Banks

10th Mar, 2023 | 5:10pm

Unai Emery promising injury update on Boubacar Kamara reduces impact of Aston Villa selection nightmare

When Aston Villa midfielder Boubacar Kamara limped off the Villa Park pitch last week against Crystal Palace, the look of anguish on Unai Emery’s face said it all.

The Frenchman hobbled off in the 59th minute of the 1-0 win after a strong challenge from Cheick Doucoure, with The Athletic reporting (6 March) that the Frenchman was expected to be out for at least a month with an ankle injury.

The lack of alternatives which Emery has at his disposal is alarming, with the likes of John McGinn, Jacob Ramsey and even centre-back Calum Chambers all tipped with taking Kamara’s spot in the starting line-up.

Ex-Arsenal defender Chambers certainly isn’t a prospect to get excited about in the middle of the park, and looks to be a car crash selection waiting to happen.

So far this season, the 28-year-old has only averaged 23 passes per 90 minutes, compared to Kamara’s 45, while also recording a worse pass success rate and attempting just 0.3 dribbles compared to his injured teammate’s 1.3 per game. [WhoScored]

Emery insistence that his central midfielders take up possession in deep lying areas and look to progress it while under pressure simply doesn’t play into Chambers’ playbook.

So when Emery provided a promising injury update on the French international’s injury in his press conference on Friday (10 March) large portions of the fanbase would have breathed a huge sigh of relief.

As reported by Birmingham Live journalist Ashley Preece, Emery said: “Boubacar is not ready for Sunday but he’s going well. He was speaking with the doctor this morning and he’s doing well. It’s not too serious.

“His return depends, two weeks out maybe is long for Kamara himself. He was playing well and is important. We are going to check with each match. He will not be involved on Sunday but, next week, we’ll have a look. But he’s doing OK.”

For the time being, McGinn is most likely to be tasked with taking the reins beside Douglas Luiz in the middle of the park, but even this is full of its complications.

In recent weeks, the former Hibernian player has taken a liking to his more advanced midfield role and a shift back into a deep-lying role could place the shackles on his offensive play.

Over the last three games, McGinn has recorded more shots (5) than his prior eight appearances in claret and blue while also completing a season-high three dribbles in his man-of-the-match display against Everton a fortnight ago. [WhoScored]

Moving McGinn into central midfield may be the best alternative for Emery to take while Kamara continues his recovery from injury, but it certainly a move that he would wish he didn’t have to take.

However, with just a clash against West Ham on Sunday (12 March) and a home match against Bournemouth awaiting before the international break, Villa look like they will have to shuffle the troops for far fewer matches than first imagined.

In other Aston Villa news, the club has been tipped to sign a new striker to aid their bid to return to European football.