Douglas Luiz surely worth £107m as he shows up Enzo Fernandez in Aston Villa win v Chelsea
Aston Villa continued their fine form under Unai Emery with a huge three points against Chelsea on Saturday 01 April at Stamford Bridge.
Goals from Ollie Watkins and John McGinn saw the Villans secure an impressive clean sheet away victory to leapfrog Graham Potter’s side in the Premier League standings.
There were so many standout performances for Emery’s men, with McGinn and Watkins once again gaining plaudits, and rightfully so. However, one player also stood up to Chelsea’s star-studded lineup and produced an impeccable midfield performance.
Douglas Luiz was the bedrock of Villa’s defensive shape and once again worked well with Boubacar Kamara in the centre of the pitch during the first half. The Brazilian was up against £107million man Enzo Fernandez (Sky Sports, 1 February), but, it was the Villa midfielder who looked like the big-money addition.
We all know Luiz’s primary role is to maintain a solid base for Villa to build off of, however, his passing was particularly impressive against Potter’s men.
Emery’s side didn’t have too much of the ball, which meant the Brazilian only completed 25 passes during the clash at Stamford Bridge, but the quality of his execution stood out. According to Wyscout, The 24-year-old registered an accuracy rate of 88 per cent, which almost matched Fernandez’s 90 per cent at the heart of the Chelsea midfield.
However, the way Luiz moved the ball forward was mightily impressive and the 21-year-old Chelsea star could learn a thing or two from the Brazilian.
The Villa man registered a 100 per cent pass accuracy to the final third and completed 11 forward passes with an accuracy of 79 per cent. The Chelsea man was less accurate when moving the ball into the final third and also completed fewer forward passes.
Far too often Fernandez was content to move the ball from side to side instead of playing a direct pass into one of Chelsea’s forward-thinking players in a dangerous area.
McGinn will be the main focus of Villa’s praise, but Luiz’s role in the centre of the pitch cannot be understated. Defensively, the Brazilian also matches the majority of Fernandez’s statistics, despite being out of possession for large periods of the game.
Luiz registered the same defensive and aerial duel success rate as Fernandez and also picked up more loose balls (four). Furthermore, he completed three interceptions and two clearances.
One area of the Villa midfielder’s performance which could be criticised was his reluctance to join in with attacks. He didn’t manage a shot, cross, or touch in the Chelsea area, but considering he was facing off against one of the Premier League’s most expensively assembled squads, his defensive duties were always going to take centre stage.
The Emery reign is now in full swing and the manner of the win over Chelsea has the Villa Park faithful dreaming of European football. With two favourable fixtures against Leicester and Nottingham Forest to come, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
As for Luiz, Aston Villa will be delighted he is tied down to the club long-term. There’s a good chance they could see some big-money bids arrive if his performance levels continue to reach new heights.