Youri Tielemans gives Unai Emery selection headache after star cameo in Aston Villa win v Hibernian
Aston Villa look back to their best after their Premier League opening day blip against Newcastle United, where nerves or a simply unstoppable Magpies side may have been to blame for the 5-1 thrashing at St James’ Park.
But Unai Emery’s men have responded in perfect fashion, thumping Everton 4-0 in the league before a 5-0 Europa Conference League victory over Hibernian.
Ollie Watkins starred in Edinburgh on Wednesday (23 August) with a fine hat-trick, with Leon Bailey and Douglas Luiz also on target in the play-off first leg win.
Striker Watkins stole the show, but another player to have impressed in Scotland was midfielder Youri Tielemans, despite the Belgian only entering the pitch in the 67th minute.
Substitute appearances have been the norm for the player since his summer arrival from Leicester City, with Tielemans not yet able to shift either Luiz or Boubacar Kamara from Emery’s midfield.
That might, however, change when Aston Villa travel to Burnley in league action on Sunday (27 August) following his impressive cameo against Hibs.
Tielemans kept the ball superbly in the match, completing 96% of his 26 passes, winning three of his five duels, completing his one dribble attempt and completing his one long ball attempt, as per SofaScore.
Most impressively, however, the Belgian made two key passes, behind only Lucas Digne (four) and John McGinn and Watkins (both three).
Given the busy fixture list, he could be in line for a start against the Clarets, but those who played more minutes than Tielemans do still have plenty of time to recover for that one.
Luiz and Boubacar could, therefore, remain in the starting XI, with both having shown their importance to the team against Hibs.
The former had a 93% passing accuracy and made two key passes, with the latter also having a 93% passing accuracy as well as making two clearances and two interceptions.
Tielemans’ cons also reared their head despite his brief time on the pitch, with the former Leicester man conceding two fouls and twice losing possession of the ball.
In other Aston Villa news, one “hungry” Villa player produced a masterclass in the 4-0 win against Everton.