Five key talking points after Villa crash out of Carabao Cup

Aston Villa suffered a 4-2 defeat to Man Utd in the Carabao Cup on Thursday night as we were left to rue a big missed opportunity to advance.

Villa twice surrendered a lead at Old Trafford in the second half as we put ourselves in a great position to advance to the next round but ultimately failed to hold out.

READ MORE: Villa player ratings vs Man Utd: Olsen, McGinn among those who struggle in cup defeat

Having defended so well in the first half, it was the complete opposite in the second half, and the same could be said for our attacking play but in reverse.

Regardless, it was bitterly disappointing to throw away the chance to beat Utd twice in a matter of days as the tie was certainly there to be won given the way it played out, but we’ll now have to quickly move on and bounce back against Brighton on Sunday in the Premier League.

Hope is that Emery learned a lot from performance

Having decided to rotate and give others an opportunity to impress, Emery is still in the process of getting to know his squad and making decisions on who is and who isn’t part of his plans moving forward.

There is obvious disappointment as this was a game we could – and perhaps should – have won, but if there is any good to come from it, it’s that the Villa boss is now in a better position to identify what he has and what’s needed to improve us.

Whether it was what will or won’t work tactically with this set of players or if certain individuals just don’t fit the style of what he’s trying to implement, this is a crucial period in the process of Emery stamping his influence and mark on the group.

The Spanish tactician even told the media pre-game that the plan is to develop an idea and style regardless of personnel. Well, after this outing, he might want to rethink which personnel will be suitable.

Big missed opportunity to put together cup run

Looking at the draw and the big-name teams that have already dropped out this year, it really does feel like a missed shot at potential silverware this season.

Of course there would need to be a lot of luck along the way and every match is difficult, but the Villa players will be kicking themselves that we’ve dropped out of the competition so early.

While there is still the FA Cup and ultimately the priority for Emery at this stage is to get us up the Premier League table, he’ll be disappointed we couldn’t go any further.

McGinn among those at risk

Given he’s been out of form for some time now, it shouldn’t really be too much of a shock to suggest that John McGinn is in real danger of dropping out of the side on a permanent basis.

Perhaps Emery saw things that he liked from the Scottish International, but whether it was his sloppy passing or appearing to be off the pace with his pressing and defensive work, there’s a lot not to like too.

Given the competition in the squad and how McGinn is really struggling to rediscover his best form, or even any real form at all, question marks have to be raised over how involved he’s going to be under Emery.

Fringe players not up to the standard needed

Robin Olsen, Ludwig Augustinsson and Calum Chambers struggled in this game and so Emery also has to consider if he’s got enough in reserve in this squad and where we need better alternative options.

While they’re all experienced and have played at a high level previously, their flaws and weaknesses were obvious in this one and so it raised concerns over whether or not we’ve got enough quality in depth.

Further, it’s not just the fringe players that will need to be wary either as there will be a clean slate for everyone under Emery, and it ultimately comes down to who he is impressed by enough to warrant being part of his long-term plans at Villa. That in turn then raises concern for the likes of McGinn too.

Villa given major Kamara boost

On a night of few positives in the end given the outcome, one major boost was seeing Boubacar Kamara complete the full game.

Having got minutes at the weekend after returning from a knee injury, Kamara stepped things up in midweek and didn’t appear to be struggling with either the tempo of the game or with fatigue in the latter stages.

Provided he has indeed come through unscathed, he will again be a fundamental figure for us, both on Sunday and after the break, as he was hugely influential in our play in both phases of the game before his injury setback and it’s vital he gets minutes to become fitter and sharper.