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Villa Duo Get TotW Nod & Crooks Actually Talks About Them For A Change


I doubt there are many Aston Villa fans out there who thought our performance against Leeds United the other day was an enjoyable one. It was 100% not easy on the eye and despite taking all three points against the predictable bunch of cloggers, few fans would’ve walked away from that game happy.

Once the emotion subsided though, there are positives to take when you consider the impact that head coach Unai Emery has had. We had a defined tactical approach to the game that ultimately worked – even if we needed the ever reliable Emi Martinez to pull off an absolute worldy of a save, and then required new signing Alex Moreno to show his potential talent with effectively a goal line clearance. We’ve all seen the criticism because the media love Leeds, but we could’ve easily won that game 5-2 with the available chances, and I say that acknowledging how utterly poor we were.

BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks doesn’t often get things right in my humble, and even when he names a standout Villa player in his Team of the Week feature, it feels like he always focuses on the opposition as opposed to their performance – but this week, he kind of got it right, even if he still had to have a little bit of a dig.

Emi Martinez:

“The save by Martinez from Jack Harrison at point-blank range was stunning. The World Cup winner with Argentina must be on an amazing high and full of confidence since his enormous success in Qatar. Martinez has been in sparkling form since his return to Aston Villa and was crucial in his side’s 2-1 win over Leeds United. The 30-year-old doesn’t seem to have been affected by the criticism that has been levelled at him since his Qatar antics, which included throwing the ball away and attempting to unnerve Aurelien Tchouameni during that epic penalty shootout in the final. Martinez was also pictured holding a toy baby with a mask of Kylian Mbappe during his country’s celebrations in Buenos Aires. Boys will be boys.”

Alex Moreno:

“It’s not very often you see a defender come on as a substitute and have the sort of impact Alex Moreno had on his debut for his new club. The quality of his defending was at times quite outstanding against Leeds. The way he responded when Leeds attacker Rodrigo rounded Martinez in the Villa goal and then blocked what was a certain goal from crossing the line was superb. Good defenders can tackle and the really good ones can see the danger and actually do something about it. Unai Emery has got everyone fired up and football at Villa Park is interesting again.”

They join Ben White, Luke Shaw, Solly March, Martin Odegaard, Mathias Jensen, James Ward-Prowse, Brennan Johnson, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka in this weeks selection.

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