By Anthony Onifade

19th Oct, 2023 | 11:10am

Moussa Diaby Aston Villa form has hit the skids, Premier League clash v West Ham offers chance at redemption

Unai Emery took Moussa Diaby out of the game when Aston Villa drew at Wolves due to his recent injury concerns but his current form will have him worried more than most.

The former Bayer Leverkusen man was the talk of the town upon his big-money move from the German Bundesliga over the summer, and he certainly backed up the hype with some stunning early-season performances.

Diaby registered two goals and two assists in his first five games [WhoScored] at Villa Park totally justifying the club-record £51m-plus fee and showcasing why he could become one of the Premier League summer signings of the season.

Diaby was just the tonic Aston Villa needed to step things up a notch both domestically and on the European stage.

Last term, the 24-year-old was in inspired form for Bayer Leverkusen, emerging as one of the best in his position in the league, registering 14 goals and 11 assists from 48 appearances across all competitions.

Diaby was also a master of putting opportunities on a plate for his teammates and successfully performed 143 shot-creating actions in 2022/23, as per FBRef.

The Frenchman proved one of Europe’s most productive attacking young commodities, and it was easy to see why Aston Villa pushed hard for his signature and so far, his numbers make for impressive reading registering two Premier League goals and three assists.

However, in his last five games, his impressive early season form has hit the skids somewhat registering just one assist in that period and his performance against Wolves before the international certainly left a lot to be desired.

Diaby, 24, was said to be carrying a knock going into Villa’s 1-1 draw at Molineux on Sunday (8 October) and it showed before being taken off after 62 minutes, his shortest Premier League appearance of the season.

During his 62 minutes on the pitch, the Frenchman barely touched the ball with just 12 touches all game, created one big chance, completed just four passes, won just one of his three ground duels at a 33% success rate, lost possession six times, failed to register a single dribble which was very uncharacteristic of him while being dribbled past one [SofaScore].

His performances against Legia Warsaw, Everton in the EFL Cup and Chelsea before the 6-1 Brighton win at Villa Park on 30 September certainly will have had Emery wincing.

When you cost £50m-plus and are struggling for form after starting so brilliantly, questions will have certainly been asked as to why that’s happened.

The former Bayer Leverkusen attacker missed out on a spot in the France squad for the current international break [L’Equipe] which will have surely given him the chance to recuperate and find his best form again.

Emery will be hoping he takes his redemption opportunity against West Ham on Sunday (22 October) with both hands. It’s a huge game for Aston Villa and their opponents and a player of Diaby’s piercing qualities could turn out the decisive difference in the game.

In other Aston Villa news, Louie Barry could be fighting for his future at Villa Park as his latest deal may be terminated early.