Ezri Konsa has stepped up and helped Aston Villa be successful without Tyrone Wings
Ezri Konsa has flown under the radar with his incredible performances for Aston Villa this season, helping Unai Emery’s side be successful without Tyrone Mings.
When the England international was stretchered off on the opening weekend of the season against Newcastle United, there were several fans worried about whether Villa would have enough strength defensively to be successful without Mings.
Konsa, alongside his teammates, has been a rock in defence and of the 76 players to have attempted 10 or more tackles this season in the Premier League, he has the best success rate of anyone, winning 100 per cent of his challenges [Whoscored].
The 25-year-old struggled on the opening day as a majority of the Aston Villa team did at St James’ Park, receiving an incredibly low 4.7 rating from Fotmob, having been responsible for an error that led to a goal, but even that performance had its bright moments, especially in terms of his passing.
When in possession, Konsa has been just as consistent as when he has had to defend one-on-one, playing 200 accurate passes in the four Premier League games so far, managing a pass completion rate of 93 per cent, better than both Pau Torres and Diego Carlos.
To compare the Villa defender with the man he has almost been forced to replace in Mings, last year the former Bournemouth defender only won seven tackles all season, having a success rate go 47 per cent and also boasted a lower pass completion rate of 85 per cent.
Now those stats came from 35 starts in the league compared to the opening four games this season, but it demonstrates the fact that Konsa has stepped up in Mings’ absence and has improved from how he played last year.
The important thing for Villa and Konsa will be ensuring this upturn in form continues, as over the last year he hasn’t always been the most consistent performer when looking at his Fbref scouting report. Despite typically winning his ground duels, he falls in the bottom 35 per cent of defenders in Europe’s top five leagues for tackles, blocks and clearances per 90 minutes.
Aerially, Konsa hasn’t been dominant enough in the past year, only winning 1.36 duels per game, but the same is true of Mings which would suggest that teams don’t often take a particularly aerial route when they face Emery’s side.
The truth is, Aston Villa’s defenders will only be able to boost these sorts of stats in games where they are under the pump and so far this season that is where they have struggled, winning comfortably against against both Burnley and Everton but losing heavily to Liverpool and Newcastle.
For Konsa and the other members of Villa’s backline to be viewed as consistent and reliable defenders they have to ensure they don’t crumble when they are facing the bigger sides. Following the International break, they have the perfect opportunity to show this characteristic with games against Chelsea and Brighton who are likely to try and take the game to Emery’s side.
Hopefully, Konsa can remain as strong in the tackle as he has been and find that regular form to prove the perfect substitute for Mings.