Unai Emery axes Youri Tielemans in four changes - Aston Villa confirmed XI v Luton Town
Unai Emery has made four changes to the Aston Villa starting line-up for his side’s Premier League clash against Luton Town at Villa Park on Sunday.
Villa confirmed via their official X account on 29 October that Emery has dropped Diego Carlos, Clement Lenglet, Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans after they started in the 4-1 win away at AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League on Thursday (26 October).
Naming a side more similar to the one that thrashed West Ham 4-1 last week, Emery has resorted Pau Torres, Ezri Konsa, Nicolo Zaniolo and Moussa Diaby to his side.
It’s a brilliant decision by Emery to drop Tielemans.
Although the 26-year-old Belgium international had arguably his best game for the Villans on Thursday in Alkmaar, it’s right to leave him out of the starting line-up and put him back on the bench for the clash against Luton.
Tielemans hasn’t started in the Premier League this term for good reason.
Although he was much improved in his goalscoring display in the Netherlands, he’s overall been disappointing in claret and blue since his free transfer from Leicester in the summer.
Stats by WhoScored show that Tielemans has averaged just 1.2 key passes per 90 minutes of Premier League football this season.
It ranks him a lowly 10th in the squad, which is awful for a supposed playmaker.
Tyrone Mings (2.9), Lucas Digne (1.7) and Jhon Duran (1.3) are among those who are contributing more to goalscoring opportunities for the Villans than Tielemans.
As for passes per 90 minutes, Tielemans has the most in the Villa squad out of players with more than 25 minutes of league football this season (70.1).
It’s all well and good playing a lot of passes but the quality of the passes has to be there as well.
With Tielemans, that just doesn’t seem to be the case.
Is he playing it too safe out of nervousness on his own accord? Or is it down to the fact that Emery is playing him so late in games that he cannot have an impact and is better suited towards keeping possession instead of creating chances?
Either way, Villa cannot afford that kind of passive play against Luton on Sunday.
They need to go for the jugular and win comfortably.
In other Aston Villa news, a message has been sent over Douglas Luiz amid fresh January exit speculation.