Emery now left in state of flux for AZ Alkmaar clash as new 50% Aston Villa blow
- Mike Johnshon
- 07 Nov, 2023
Unai Emery is dealing with a new setback at Aston Villa before their Europa Conference League match against AZ Alkmaar this week. Defender Matty Cash might be absent for the game due to an injury.
Injury expert Ben Dinnery, within his Premier League Injuries table (dated November 7), has indicated that the Polish international’s fitness stands at 25% after he sustained a shoulder injury and was substituted before the 60th minute during their 2-0 loss to Nottingham Forest.
The Villans are aiming to secure their position in the knockout stages of the Europa Conference League as they face the Dutch team at Villa Park on Thursday (November 9). They currently hold the second spot in their group, tied on points with Legia Warsaw.
However, Emery will have to manage the match against AZ Alkmaar without one of his key defenders, Cash. This absence might prompt Emery to recall Calum Chambers at right-back or reposition Ezri Konsa in that role, with Diego Carlos likely to start for his second consecutive European game.
Cash, a beloved figure at Villa Park, has recently struggled to maintain his top form, which could be a concern for Emery. His return to fitness is hoped for the crucial Sunday encounter with Fulham (November 12).
Having been a pivotal player for Aston Villa in recent seasons, Cash has displayed maturity and dominance, particularly in his right-back role since joining from Nottingham Forest in 2020.
The latter part of the 2022/23 season was challenging for the Polish international due to injuries and a lack of form. However, he started this season in good shape. Yet, his performances have been inconsistent this season, oscillating between excellent and disappointing displays.
In a recent match against the Dutch side, his performance was rated poorly, and his statistics highlighted some deficiencies in his game, especially regarding duels, possession, and dribbling.
While he showed improvement in the game against Luton Town, his performance against Nottingham Forest was again underwhelming, culminating in an injury.
Currently, Cash is the only specialized right-back available for Emery, which has likely saved his place in the team so far.
The concern for Emery now is who will step in when Cash is not performing well. This might prompt a consideration of a new right-back in the January transfer market.
Upon his return from this injury setback, Cash will need to significantly improve if he aims to secure a permanent spot in Emery’s starting lineup.
What Emery decides to do in Cash's absence at Villa Park on Thursday remains uncertain.
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