Time for Ezri Konsa to step up in Aston Villa adversity amid Tyrone Mings injury development
Aston Villa have confirmed that star defender Tyrone Mings will be out for an extended period after a worrying injury against Newcastle handing defensive partner Ezri Konsa to rise up and lead at the heart of the defence.
Mings was carried off on a stretcher during Villa’s 5-1 defeat at Newcastle on Saturday (12 August) with what looked like a serious knee injury.
It is the second serious injury for a Villa player in the space of a week after midfielder Emi Buendia was ruled out for up to eight months with a knee ligament injury sustained in training before the campaign kicked off.
It remains to be seen definitively how long the England international will be out of action, but what’s guaranteed is that Aston Villa have been dealt a serious blow in their quest to progress both domestically and in their new Europa Conference League adventure, set to take place on Thursday 24 August.
The former Bournemouth defender had proven a crucial much-needed component under Unai Emery’s management, proving why he was touted as arguably the best centre-back outside the top six in the Premier League.
However, Mings certainly had Konsa to thank for that career progression with the former Brentford defender forming a solid and indestructible partnership before Mings’ plight against the Magpies last Saturday.
Only the top four clubs (Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United) conceded fewer goals than Villa’s 46 last season, as per the official Premier League website.
While Tyrone Mings has rightfully earned his shot for England once again, Konsa’s performances at Villa Park have somewhat undeservedly gone under the radar and there’s certainly been a number of his sensational showings under Emery’s stewardship.
Arguably one of his most impressive came against his old club Brentford in April [22 April], winning 100% of his aerial duels, winning 3 out of his four total duels, recording two clearances and successfully completing 47 of his 53 passes at a rate of 89% [SofaScore].
And despite the 5-1 defeat on Saturday, Konsa did pull up some impressive numbers, again proving why he is amongst one of the Premier League’s best duel-winners winning seven of his nine ground duels, but making an error leading to a goal [SofaScore].
Konsa’s rock-solid partnership with the England international was the foundation at which Aston Villa underwent their stunning upward trajectory last term, recording an impressive 11 eleven clean sheets along the way.
But how Konsa will cope without Mings right now, is another matter entirely, but given his experience and maturity under Emery’s tutelage, it is certainly time for Konsa to step up in Mings’ place and become the fulcrum and voice of the Aston Villa backline in Mings’ absence.
And after last season’s showings, Konsa has certainly got what it takes to do just that.
In fact, Konsa’s seasonal stats should be coming under the microscope in Southgate’s and Emery’s behind-the-scenes defensive analysis, with the former Brentford man only being dribbled past 0.2 times per game, recording 1.1 tackles per game, 3.0 clearances, winning 72% of his total duels, 60% of his aerial duels and a whopping 80% of his ground duels [SofaScore].
With the club taking on a new European adventure from next week, Konsa certainly now face the most defining and crucial period of his Villa Park career. Mings will be reliant on him in the background.