By Peter Lynch

2nd Apr, 2023 | 8:10pm

Aston Villa capable of challenging Premier League big guns under Unai Emery guidance, official stat shows

Unai Emery has helped Aston Villa achieve a superb turnaround in the Premier League since taking over as manager from Steven Gerrard in November.

The Spaniard has helped steady the ship at Villa Park, with his successful spell epitomised in his very first match; a 3-1 home win against Manchester United.

It was the club’s first home Premier League win against the Red Devils since August 1995, with Villa going from strength to strength since then.

There have, of course, been some disappointing results under Emery, namely the FA Cup third-round home loss to Stevenage in January.

But the cup exit, coupled with the third-round League Cup loss to Man United in November, has allowed Emery to shift all of his focus to the league.

And that has led to his club earning a place among Premier League royalty this season, with only Arsenal (13) and Manchester City (10) winning more matches in the competition than Villa (nine) since Emery took over, according to OptaJoe.

Taking over a damaged team from Gerrard, Emery boasts a 60% win rate in the Premier League, winning nine of his 15 matches so far. He has drawn two matches and lost four, resulting in a points-per-game ratio of 1.93, according to FootyStats.

Two of those losses came in back-to-back matches with league leaders Arsenal and second-placed Man City, and they were followed by a loss to Leicester in a worrying period for the manager.

But that run of losses in early February has turned out to be a blessing in disguise, with Villa now on a five-game unbeaten run, winning four of those games.

In their last two matches, the club have scored five goals and conceded none, a feat they can take into their upcoming clash with managerless Leicester on Tuesday (4 April).

Surprisingly, it is Villa’s away form that has helped them climb the table more than their home form, with only Arsenal boasting a better record away from home in the last six Premier League matches, according to SportsMole.

The Midlands outfit have climbed to ninth place in the standings with their latest win against Chelsea, with a spot in Europe undoubtedly on the mind of their manager.

Villa are just one point behind Liverpool in eighth and two behind both Brentford and Brighton in joint-six, with fifth-placed Newcastle only six points ahead.

In other Aston Villa news, the club have been urged to cut ties with a player who is not expected to play again in 22/23.