By Pranav Shahaney

27th Apr, 2023 | 6:10pm

Unai Emery must axe Emiliano Buendia from Aston Villa XI v Manchester United after woeful Fulham display

Unai Emery would surely be looking to axe Emiliano Buendia after his performance for Aston Villa v Fulham on Tuesday, 25 April.

The Villains are visiting Old Trafford and with the chance of qualifying for Europe up for grabs, Emery should treat every contest as a must-win game.

United have all but secured their spot in the Champions League so they will not be going full steam ahead for this one, in the same manner as Villa will.

Despite winning 1-0 against Fulham, Emery will not have been happy with the performance of Buendia, who started as the number 10 in that game.

Ollie Watkins certainly did not get the service he would’ve wanted from someone playing in the hole with the Argentina international playing just one key pass to him all game. [Sofascore]

John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey, playing on either side of Buendia played three key passes each and were undoubtedly much better going forward than the 26-year-old.

While Villa’s defensive nous wasn’t tested a great deal against Fulham, it surely will against United – a side that’s been incredible at home this season under Erik ten Hag.

They’ve kept the ball well and have been extremely hard to break down and if Emery is to get the three points here, he will need his side to press from the front and win the ball back closer to the opposition penalty area.

For this reason, starting Buendia is a liability as he’s just not good enough trying to win the ball back and his stats against Fulham back that up.

He attempted a colossal 16 ground duels in the match and just managed to win three – an extremely disappointing return for an attacking player.

McGinn won nine out of his 14 attempted ones while Ramsey had a success rate of 50 per cent – both far superior to the Argentine.

Emery could look to start Bertrand Traore instead, who can play on the left with Ramsey moving into a more central position.

This could see them not only being tighter without the ball but also will have the outlet to play on the counter attack.

Watkins certainly would prefer a willing runner on the flanks while someone like Ramsey can pick the moments to feed him the ball inside the penalty area.

Manchester United have not been overly comfortable building from the back especially since Lisandro Martinez has been absent and this could be the perfect opportunity for Emery to employ a high press and get the job done.

In other Aston Villa news, a Villa sensation could miss up to nine months of action and faces the threat of a potential ACL tear as well.