Ezri Konsa conducts the orchestra - Three things learned in Aston Villa win v Leicester
Aston Villa continued their impeccable Premier League form with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night (4 April).
Ollie Watkins gave Unai Emery’s side the lead after 24 minutes with a smart finish before Harvey Barnes levelled proceedings with a wonderfully worked goal cutting in from his left flank.
Villa substitute Bertrand Traore was the match-winner for Villa when he curled home a winner from 25 yards in the dying embers of the match – a goal that propelled Villa up to 7th in the Premier League table.
Here are three things we learned from the 2-1 win over the Foxes.
Buzzing Buendia back to his best
Emi Buendia has taken a while to adjust to life at Villa Park following his club-record move from Norwich City, but he looked a cut above every other player on the King Power pitch on Tuesday.
The Argentine orchestrated the beautifully-worked opening goal for Watkins with a through ball and picked up little pockets in between the Leicester midfield and defence during his 90-minute display.
According to WhoScored, Buendia recorded a team-high four key passes as well as completing two dribbles and completing 40 passes – which is the most he has completed in his last five starts.
It wasn’t just his attacking play that was on show, with the 26-year-old chipping in with two tackles, two interceptions and one clearance.
Since Emery’s arrival at Aston Villa, it has become clear that he wants all of his team’s attacks to come through Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings in the heart of defence.
The English duo were once again instrumental in building Villa’s attacking play, with Mings recording a season-high total of 91 passes against the Foxes, with Konsa notching up an equally-impressive 82 passes.
Although Mings has always been renowned as a ball-playing centre-back, the improvements of his partner in crime Konsa have been stark.
During Steven Gerrard’s ten games in the Villa Park dugout this season, the 25-year-old only managed to record over a 90% passing accuracy three times, compared to the 13 out of 16 total he has recorded under Emery.
At the King Power Stadium, the Englishman reached a quite staggering 98.8% pass accuracy.
Watkins continues clinical streak
Watkins continues to re-write the record books at Aston Villa, having netted his sixth goal in as many away games on Tuesday night.
Not on was the Englishman’s goal a tidy finish, but he also hit the target with all three of his shots – a part of his game he has struggled with in previous seasons.
Although the 27-year-old is renowned for his running in behind opposition defences, his hold-up play has also improved drastically ever since being deployed as a sole centre-forward.
This was evident against Leicester as Watkins wasn’t dispossessed once all game despite being doubled up on by Wout Faes and Harry Souttar for large portions of the encounter.