By Anthony Onifade

23rd Sep, 2023 | 12:10pm

Unai Emery to wield axe on Boubacar Kamara and Clement Lenglet, Jacob Ramsey returns - Aston Villa predicted XI v Chelsea

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery could be set to make five changes to his starting eleven when they visit Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Villans will be eager to return to winning ways as they visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday after a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Legia Warsaw in their opening day Europa Conference League defeat on Thursday (21 September).

Emery and his team will want to quickly put Thursday’s dreadful performance to bed when they take on a stuttering Chelsea and the Spaniard will be expected to ring the changes once again.

In goal, Emi Martinez is expected to continue between the sticks for the West Midlands outfit despite his unconvincing off-day in Poland where he picked up a woeful goals prevented score of -089 [SofaScore], while making just two saves all evening.

However, he wasn’t alone in the Villa mess against Legia and seeing as he is Emery’s undisputed number one, his position is under no threat from understudy Robin Olsen at all.

In defence, at right-back, Matty Cash will be expected to replace the below-par Calum Chambers who failed to show Emery why he is a capable backup to the Polish international as he was given the runaround all night on Thursday.

Guity of some comical and poor defending in the first half when Legia Warsaw perilously targetted his right-hand flank to completely expose his defensive frailties. Was half-asleep on both of Legia’s goals when he allowed the cross for the first before failing to track the runner for the second.

The same can be said of Ezri Konsa who endured a torrid evening having to deal with the in-form Ernest Muci who grabbed two easy goals and could have had a third as a result of Konsa’s incredible off-day.

Given a woeful SofaScore rating of 6.1 [SofaScore], failed to register any tackle, no interceptions, no blocks, and dribbled past once while winning all of his aerial duels.

However, the defender fresh off his new Villa Park contract will be determined to put that performance behind him as he returns to partnership with Spanish international Pau Torres.

Clement Lenglet should be given the axe, and it won’t be a surprise to see him out of the starting XI for a long while, especially with Diego Carlos set to return to training next week after injury (Express & Star, 23 September).

The Barcelona loanee failed to convince at the heart of the Aston Villa defence and Emery will be desperate to bring back Torres into the fold at Stamford Bridge.

At left-back, Emery faces a dilemma. Does he stick with Lucas Digne who despite scoring Villa’s second on Thursday, was also given a torrid evening by the Legia Warsaw attack or does he go with Alex Moreno is gearing up to start after returning from injury?

Given the raft of changes in the defence so far, Emery may well be tempted to stick with the Frenchman.

There will be several changes in midfield too with Youri Tielemans and Boubacar Kamara both set to be axed after their dreadful showings at the heart of the Aston Villa midfield, failing to provide any real security to their defenders and also enduring lacklustre evenings in possession.

Kamara failed to win any of his ground duels, registered a surprising zero tackles, just one interception, failed to complete any of his long balls, lost possession eight times, and dribbled past once before deservedly being hooked off in the 60th minute [SofaScore] while Tielemans failed to convince Emery that he is worthy of regular starts in an Aston Villa shirt.

Against Chelsea, Emery could start Douglas Luiz deep in midfield with John McGinn alongside him although the Scot will be terribly lucky to be involved from the off after his rather absent showing in Poland.

The former Hibernian midfielder just touched 20 times all game, recorded just the one key pass in his advanced midfield position, registered no shot at goal, completed just 40% of his total duels, recorded an expected goals total of 0.03 and didn’t contribute to any defensive work [SofaScore] as Aston Villa were easily swallowed up by Legia Warsaw all game.

In attack, Leon Bailey was one of Villa’s bright sparks on Thursday and should continue on the right flank while Emery may be forced to recall Jacob Ramsey to the fold to make his first start of the campaign after injury and right now, the Villans need his exceptional consistency and decisiveness in the final third, especially Ollie Watkins.

He impressively sits in the 96th percentile for non-penalty goals per90, 94th percentile for assists per90, 94th for touches in the attacking penalty area per 90 – such contributions in the box have been missing which has certainly impacted Watkins’ form – and 96th percentile for progressive carries per 90 [FBREF], highlighting his sensational influence and decisiveness amongst his peers in Europe’s top five leagues.

Not only will Watkins be impacted by Ramsey’s return but new signing Moussa Diaby too.

The England under-21 international could be handed a free role on the left-flank in a rigid but fluid 4-4-2 system at Stamford Bridge, with Diaby playing in behind the burdened Watkins in attack.

In other Aston Villa news, the Villans could call upon a 94th-percentile star to help fix their injury issues.