By Anthony Onifade

20th Nov, 2023 | 6:10pm

Pau Torres nowhere to be seen in Spain win v Georgia, Emery will wince at Aston Villa

Aston Villa could well have suffered a fresh new blow ahead of Tottenham on Sunday with key man Pau Torres nowhere to be seen for Spain in their 3-1 win over Georgia on Sunday.

The former Villarreal defender has shone for both club and country so far this season but was absent for his nation as they triumphed over the Georgians in their final Euro 2024 qualifying Group A match on Sunday (19 November) in a bittersweet victory for the hosts after midfielder Gavi suffered a knee injury.

The defender has proved his worth and become a mainstay in Unai Emery’s team, starting 11 Premier League games so far since arriving at Villa Park.

However, his absence may leave his manager and teammates in uncertainty ahead of Sunday’s crucial clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

In his last three performances against Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Luton, of which Villa have won two and lost one, Torres has been a key presence. Having him at the back allows Villa to build out of defence, with a 95% success rate against Luton and 90% against Forest, his role is clear. [Sofascore]

Playing as a facilitator to help build possession from the back was why Emery targeted Torres as a priority in the summer, but the doubts over his physicality other teams swerved him for may now have also been put to bed.

An average of 1.0 tackles, 5.1 recoveries and 2.2 clearances per game in the Premier League this season has shown how sound he is defensively, while a total of 2.9 duels won shows he is not afraid to put himself about in defence against some of the physical strikers that England can offer.

These are stats which show Aston Villa simply cannot afford to lose the Spaniard against Ange Postecoglou’s men given his tremendous abilities in possession, especially against a press-heavy Spurs.

Such excellence were on show for all to see during Spain’s win over Cyprus on Thursday (16 November) where he registered another 93% pass success rate with 125 touches [SofaScore].

The former Villarreal man could well have been rested against Georgia, hence his absence but given he wasn’t even on the bench for the game suggests he could well have been troubled by an injury niggle.

With the Villans set to undergo another crucial run of games in the Premier League and in Europe, Emery will be hoping and praying Torres returns from international duty in tip-top fitness and confidence.

He’s become that important in so little time since his summer move.

In other Aston Villa news, Emery must stick with one Villa Park midfield maestro v Spurs on 26 November after his recent international masterclass.