Aston Villa faced Cardiff City in the Peter Whittingham Memorial Match on Wednesday night, with Morgan Sanson’s absence raising eyebrows.
With all proceeds of the game going to supporting the newly-launched PW7 Foundation, it was a sombre night but also a great occasion as the two clubs both celebrated and paid tribute to our former midfielder, who sadly passed away in March 2022 at just 35 years of age.
That was naturally the focal point of the night, but it was also an opportunity for Unai Emery to give his players a run-out as we tick over during the World Cup break as he gave minutes to regular starters, fringe players and youngsters alike.
It ended in a 3-1 defeat for us, but ultimately the result was largely inconsequential as the night was about Whittingham while Emery continues to work with his players and get his ideas across ahead of our winter training camp in Dubai next week.
There was one notable absentee though from the squad, with Sanson not even named on the bench. That naturally raised concerns once again over the Frenchman, who was largely overlooked by our previous two managers.
Fortunately though, it doesn’t appear as though that was the case with Emery last night, as BirminghamLive report that Sanson is managing an injury currently which forced him to miss the game, and while he hasn’t yet returned to training because of it, he is expected to join the squad in Dubai next week.
That will ultimately be the priority for both Sanson and Emery at this stage, as while it would have been disappointing to miss out on getting much-needed minutes on Wednesday night, he knows that the trip to Dubai will give him his biggest opportunity yet to make an impression on the Villa boss and earn a bigger role coming out of the World Cup break.
Time will tell if the injury heals in time for him to feature heavily in our upcoming friendlies against Chelsea and Villarreal, with Sanson hoping that the knock doesn’t disrupt him yet again as he tries to make a positive impression on his third Villa manager having struggled with setbacks throughout his time with us thus far.