By George Overhill

28th Sep, 2023 | 6:10pm

Aston Villa 'praying' to avoid 'real problem' with Emi Martinez after Chelsea win

We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park…

Emi Martinez has been “absolutely outstanding” at Aston Villa and it would be a “real problem” if he were to be missing, says Alan Hutton.

The former Scotland international believes the confidence afforded to the defence by the Argentine World Cup-winner’s presence is something “money genuinely can’t buy”, especially after another stand-out performance in the 1-0 victory at Chelsea last week.

While Hutton accepts that Robin Olsen is a decent back up he doesn’t feel that he is anywhere near the same level so is “praying” that Martinez, 31, isn’t brought down be injury to derail the club’s progress.

“He’s been absolutely outstanding since he came to the club,the former Villans defender exclusively told Villa News.

“You never want to see anybody injured. I think it would be a real problem if something like that were to happen.

“He comes up with big save after big save after big save every other week.

“When Aston Villa play away with a high line sometimes you might get exposed. 

“So the feeling that gives as a defender knowing you’ve got somebody solid behind you if anything does go wrong the chances are he’s going to pull off a big save, money genuinely can’t buy that, or at least it’s very difficult.

“You’ve got Olsen on the bench as well who is a decent understudy. I don’t think he would ever come in and be the number one.

“So you’re praying that Martinez stays fit.”

Olsen didn’t cover himself with glory when called upon last season and the 33-year-old is certainly not of the same standard as the man in front of him so it would be a substantial blow of Martinez were to be unavailable for any length of time.

There were rumours of transfer interest in the former Arsenal man during the summer [TyC Sports, 8 July] which didn’t come to pass, but if he keeps performing at a high level it will remain a potential concern.

For now he is securely in place as the undisputed starter at Villa Park and Emery, like Hutton, will be hoping it stays that way.

In other Aston Villa news, one of the manager’s decisions which backfired in loss has left Hutton baffled as a result.