By Anthony Onifade

25th Sep, 2023 | 4:10pm

Ezri Konsa justifies Aston Villa contract decision with dominant display v Chelsea

Aston Villa piled more misery on a stuttering Chelsea side as they ran out 1-0 winners in the Premier League on Sunday and Emery will feel his decision to hand Ezri Konsa a new contract is totally justified.

Ollie Watkins fired home an unerring winner between the legs of Robert Sanchez from an incredibly tight angle as Villa took advantage of Malo Gusto’s dismissal for dangerous play.

Mauricio Pochettino’s hosts fashioned plenty of chances before Gusto’s red card for a poorly-timed tackle that caught Lucas Digne on the ankle and the Villans had Emi Martinez to thank after some spectacular saves.

The result means now sit sixth in the table with 12 points from a possible 18 on offer with the win making it two wins from two after last weekend’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.

And after Aston Villa announced their decision to hand Konsa a new long-term deal at Villa Park on 20 September, the uncapped Englishman certainly provided the fanbase and Emery a glimpse of what he will provide in what could be a very bright future at the club under the Spaniard’s tutelage.

Konsa joined Villa in the summer of 2019 and has gone on to become a mainstay in the heart of defence and is now three games away from making his 150th at Villa Park.

He is the only Villa player to have played every league minute this season having also featured in every match last year with former manager Dean Smith hailing him as a “Rolls-Royce” of a defender after yet another Gareth Southgate snub for England.

Konsa’s presence has grown since the serious knee injury suffered by Tyrone Mings, his long-standing defensive partner who both were key to Villa’s impressive renaissance after Emery’s appointment going on to finish seventh in the table and qualify for the Europa Conference League.

The former Brentford man’s performance away at Chelsea — where Villa kept their first away clean sheet since their last visit to Stamford Bridge in April, achieving consecutive wins in West London in the process for the first time since 1933 — only reaffirmed his vital importance to Emery and totally justified their decision to award with him with a new deal.

Konsa impressively registered a whopping 97% pass accuracy, from 50 touches, recorded 100% accurate long balls, 100% tackles won, two blocks, six clearances and won 100% of his ground duels in a dominant and assured defensive display against a goal-shy Chelsea [SofaScore]

Up until now, Villa’s high line had been malfunctioning, contributing to an increasingly porous and leaky defence which was on show against Legia Warsaw last week and in previous defeats to Newcastle United and Liverpool before the international break. 

While Mauricio Pochettino’s stuttering and goal-shy Chelsea side may not have provided the critical test Konsa and Pau Torres needed to right those wrongs in defence, they still passed the obstacle with flying colours with Chelsea certainly having several openings and chances to score.

Nonetheless, Konsa once again was instrumental in this clean sheet and is proving consistently he is an elegant presence at the heart of this new Villa back line. He and Torres may well prove the perfect and one of the most flawless Premier League partnerships in Mings’ absence.

Konsa is indeed integral to Emery’s long-term plans.

In other Aston Villa news, a new signing has already held crunch talks with Emery and a BBC Sport pundit has reacted.