By Daniel Lewis

22nd Sep, 2023 | 7:09am

Aston Villa missed presence of Diego Carlos v Legia Warsaw, return date set by Unai Emery

Aston Villa fell to a 3-2 loss at the hands of Legia Warsaw in their opening Europa Conference League match on Thursday [21 September].

The Villans have now shipped seven goals in their past three matches in all competitions, six of those coming since Diego Carlos sustained an injury early on against Liverpool last month.

Prior to that, Unai Emery’s side had kept three clean sheets in five matches in which Carlos had featured in the heart of their defence.

Emery now has Pau Torres and Clement Lenglet to play alongside Ezri Konsa, but it is looking increasingly likely as though Carlos could slot back into the side when fit – certainly in European matches.

Discussing the Brazilian’s likely return date following the loss to Legia, Emery is quoted by BBC Sport [21 September] as saying: “We are thinking maybe next week he could be ready to start training with the group.

“If he is available it would be better because of the experience he has in Europe, and we can make different tactical decisions.”

Emery is clearly eager to get Carlos back on the field, then, and that is not surprising when looking at the statistics.

The 30-year-old’s debut campaign at Villa Park was also cut short by injury, but when available he showed what he is all about as he won 66.7% of his aerial duels in the Premier League [FBref].

The was almost identical to the 65.6% registered in his final season with Sevilla in LaLiga, so it is by no means an anomaly.

For comparison, when looking at last season’s figures, only Tyrone Mings (71.8%) could better that tally among Villa regulars.

Carlos also averaged more touches per 90 minutes (67.8) than those to have played more than a couple of games for Villa last season, while also averaging the most carries (43.5).

Sure, these figures are skewed slightly by the fact he has played so little football in a Villa shirt, but Emery is clearly a fan and he will provide a reliable option in the back four when available.

Staying fit will then be the biggest challenge, but confirmation of Carlos’ imminent return to training is at least one positive to come out of a disappointing night for Villa.

In other Aston Villa news, the club got their decision to reward Konsa with a new contract spot on.