Unai Emery may be forced into action on Moussa Diaby ahead of Aston Villa clash v Tottenham
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has plenty to be happy about right now as we enter the final international break of the year.
The Villans are fifth in the Premier League, one point off the top four, and are on the verge of advancing in the Europa Conference League.
Sunday’s (12 November) 3-1 victory over Fulham was their 13th home league win in a row – their longest such run in the top flight since 1983.
Indeed, as per Opta, their 14 home league wins at Villa Park in 2023 are as many as they managed in the past two calendar years combined.
Next up for Villa is a massive match away at – let’s call it what it is – top-four rivals Tottenham on 26 November.
Emery will be hoping those away on international duty return back fit and ready to go, but he may well be considering an unforced change or two.
Moussa Diaby is surely one of those at risk of dropping out of the side after his disappointing showing in the win against Fulham.
The Frenchman registered just one key pass before being replaced on the hour by Leon Bailey, who registered double that number [WhoScored] – including an assist.
Not only that, Diaby won just 25% of his total duels (1/4), as per Sofascore, had only 19 touches and made eight successful passes.
That is a poor return for a player in the side to create danger, and is put in further perspective by Bailey’s 22 touches and 10 accurate passes.
Bailey has also been involved in 0.78 goal creating actions per 90 minutes this term [FBref] – passes and take-ons leading to a goal – compared to 0.38 for Diaby.
If that is not enough to sway Emery’s decision in terms of his team selection against Spurs, Diaby has one goal or assist in his past seven appearances.
If nothing else, though, it goes to show that Villa very much have the strength in depth to maintain this push for Champions League football.
In other Aston Villa news, a first-team player has surprisingly been called up to represent his country.