The miracle of Unai Emery at Aston Villa

The miracle of Unai Emery at Aston Villa

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The former Villarreal coach is doing a smashing job in the Midlands

Unai Emery has landed on his feet in the Premier League. He left the project he had started at Villarreal to take the reins at Aston Villa who, at the time, were fighting relegation. And the result could not have been better. At Villa Park they love him and seeing the performance of the team, that makes total sense.

Seven wins in the last eight games mean they have the joint best form in English competition, equalling Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Arteta's Arsenal who, like them, have only conceded one draw each in this stretch of the season. 

When he arrived, the club were sixteenth, having taken just 13 points from 12 games. Nineteen games later, they have taken 38 points to move up to sixth and within sight of the European places. Although they have played more games played than United and Newcastle, the top places are now only six points away. If they keep up the momentum, they are going to give the big teams a decent battle.

A run without Coutinho

The only thing that perhaps the Basque coach has not managed to do is to get Coutinho back to his best. His season was already low key, but the thigh strain that has kept him off the pitch coincides with the eight games that the Villans have accumulated without losing. 

The Brazilian was a total gamble by Steven Gerrard. With his arrival he got minutes, but the reality is that he gradually faded away and has only managed to score 1 goal in 20 games played. Saudi Arabian football is already calling for him. 

What's the key?

Well, there are several, but what is clear is that Emery has found the key to getting a group with a lot of quality going. The club has invested heavily over the last few seasons and the coach has been able to get the best out of them and start to add to the squad. 

Starting at the back, the team has only conceded two goals in the last eight. With an immense 'Dibu' Martínez in goal and a solid defence, they have kept six clean sheets in six games. 

Up front, the former Villarreal boss has been able to find his marksman and to enhance him, as in this period of the season, Ollie Watkins has managed to score seven goals, almost half of those scored by the whole group. In turn, the English striker has found the net 11 times in the last 12 games, placing him in the top 5 scorers of the Premier League.