Five key talking points as Villa bounce back with Leeds win

After securing a 2-1 win over Leeds Utd on Friday night, Aston Villa continued an impressive run of form in the Premier League under Unai Emery.

There have been plenty of positives since the Spanish tactician took charge in November, but our FA Cup defeat to Stevenage last weekend was certainly a major low point in his tenure thus far.

READ MORE: What Emery said on Villa’s battling 2-1 win over Leeds

In turn, it was crucial that we delivered a response in our first game back in action since, and although it wasn’t exactly convincing, there was enough in our win over Leeds to suggest that we’re growing as a group, showing more character and belief in what we’re trying to build.

Emery will be the first to point out the areas for improvement, of which there are still many, but he can also take a lot from these results as they continue to set us on our path for the rest of the season, with the sole priority now being to finish as high in the Premier League table as we can.

Bailey response ideal for confidence

Particularly after that late miss vs Wolves, Leon Bailey has struggled for confidence as he didn’t look anywhere near his best against Stevenage and his performance level continued to dip.

He needed something to give him a lift in this one, and it was ideal that it came so early in the game as he showed his quality when cutting inside and curling an effort into the back of the net to give us an early lead.

It was clear from that point on that he was already getting his confidence back as he showed great skill and determination with his pacy, direct running to give us a real threat in the final third throughout.

Kamara a class operator

Boubacar Kamara is an elite talent, and he is consistently putting in performances in our midfield that are making a huge difference for us in both phases of the game.

From his defensive work to break things up and win possession back, to his quick passing to break the lines and set us on our way in attack and to also now adding an assist to his night’s work in the counter-attack leading up to Bailey’s goal.

He did it all in this one and while Emery would like more control of possession and tempo, which comes largely from our midfield giving us a foothold and dominating, he will get that and much more from Kamara.

Martinez shows his class with decisive moment

Emi Martinez has shown his class time and time again, but the save he produced to deny Harrison in the first half was a game-defining moment from the Argentine goalkeeper.

His leadership, organisational skills and physical presence make a big difference for us, but add his shot-stopping and commanding nature in the box, we look a stronger defensive unit because of him.

That was a massive moment in the game to preserve our lead, and he continues to deliver when called upon.

Alex Moreno puts in solid debut

Having only arrived on Wednesday, being thrown into action after Lucas Digne’s injury would have been a real test for Alex Moreno as he made his Villa debut.

The Spaniard wouldn’t have had long to work on his communication and chemistry with his new teammates, but he slotted in and did an excellent job both defensively and in getting forward to provide an attacking threat.

Not only did he go close to scoring himself, but he showed his quality in breaking forward up the left flank and cutting passes back to teammates in dangerous positions, and that is something we can look forward to seeing more of and why Emery was keen to bring him in.

Still inconsistent, but good signs shown by Villa

After indifferent performances against Wolves and Stevenage, there were still question marks and areas of improvement needed in this one and Emery will be fully aware of what he needs to tweak.

The important thing was the three points and continuing our good league form, but it’s clear that we’re still learning and adjusting to Emery’s demands in terms of the style of play and identity that he wants to see.

That’s to be expected as it will be a big shift from the previous regime and there will be a lot of information to process and then execute on a consistent basis, but it’s hoped that we see more of the football in the second half moving forward where we control games, create chances regularly and look more convincing as time goes on.

Still, there are so many positives to build on that outweigh any concerns, and this isn’t a bad stat either since Emery’s arrival…