Journalist Mat Kendrick has claimed that Aston Villa boss Unai Emery may look to ‘upgrade’ his defensive options in the near future.
Villa were 2-1 winners on Friday night, with goals from Leon Bailey and Emiliano Buendia taking the Villans within touching distance of the top half, and they have now only lost one of their last six Premier League matches.
However, their defence perhaps flattered to deceive. Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa were the centre-backs picked by Emery, though Mings failed to register a tackle, while Konsa was beaten by Wilfried Gnonto as Leeds United pulled one back and threatened to snatch a point.
The duo have been the go-to for the Villans this season, with Konsa playing 19 times in the league and Mings being selected for 17 fixtures.
Speaking on the Claret & Blue YouTube channel, Kendrick claimed Emery will be asking for more from his centre-backs and that the club should look to strengthen in that position.
He said: “I think Konsa or Mings, probably next season, becomes one of your first-choice reserve centre-backs, potentially. And it’s up to those [players] which one wants to seize it.
“You’re asking more of your centre-halves now, you’re asking them to start moves, [be] ball-players. If that’s what we need to do, I think we probably are going to have to upgrade, gradually, in that position.”
TIF Thoughts on Kendrick’s comments…
With Diego Carlos out on the sidelines, Villa may not need to bring in multiple centre-halves in the near future, though one new addition could boost their backline.
Brazilian Carlos suffered an Achilles tendon rupture in August and hasn’t played since for Aston Villa, so Emery could well look to implement him into the starting XI upon his return.
So the question for the Villa boss is who he puts alongside him. Konsa certainly showed the better defensive stats against Leeds, having been Sofascore’s highest-rated defender and won all seven of his duels, but Mings has the experience and 17 England caps to his name.
We believe that Konsa would be the better choice as he’s younger, which means Emery could help mould him into the type of player he wants him to be, but we agree with Kendrick that a change at the back is surely just around the corner for Villa.