Why absence of key Villa figure emphasised importance amid glaring stats

Aston Villa fell to a 3-1 defeat to Man City on Sunday and with Tyrone Mings missing due to injury, it continued a worrying trend in his absence.

Unai Emery gave nothing away in midweek to suggest that the 29-year-old had picked up a problem, and so it was a surprise to see Mings missing from the matchday squad at the Etihad.

READ MORE: Five key talking points as Villa suffer disappointing loss at Man City

Particularly with the assignment of trying to keep Erling Haaland quiet in mind, it was a huge blow in itself that he was ruled out, while it was a big test for Calum Chambers deputising given his last Premier League start was back in August.

As expected, there were defensive problems particularly in the first half, and Villa conceded three goals in the opening 45 minutes with the game out of reach by the break.

While Mings seems to attract criticism and stick constantly, and often unfairly, there is a developing trend that was amplified this past weekend which backs up the case that we sorely miss his presence in the backline when he’s not involved.

Putting the statistics to the side for now, his physicality, height, organisational skills and general reading of the game are all key strengths, and combine that with leadership and experience, he is a fundamental figure in the Villa XI, as proven by the fact that he has been an ever-present for Emery in the league since he took charge. It’s fair to say the Spaniard knows a solid player he can rely upon when he sees one.

Naturally, the counter-argument to that would be that we’re not exactly blessed with quality depth and competition in that area with Diego Carlos still sidelined, but it’s a disservice to Mings to dismiss how influential he is for us, especially when he’s able to cut the mistakes out of his game.

Now, to those stats. Since the 2019/20 season, Mings has missed 12 Premier League games. In those outings, Villa have won one, drawn two and suffered nine defeats, while conceding 24 goals. That in itself tells a damning story about how we struggle in his absence.

There are valid counter-arguments of course. Mings has been error-prone himself, and while we’re better with him in the side, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the ultimate solution to our problems and everything is down to whether he is in the line-up or not.

However, you can’t ignore those vital attributes that we lack in other individuals and the impact they make in our defensive performances, and the numbers speak volumes as to how we struggle without him and don’t have the necessary quality to step in and fill that void successfully.

It’s hoped that Mings is available to face Arsenal this weekend, but whether it’s the return of Carlos or further signings in the summer, Emery will no doubt have identified our struggles without Mings in defence and it will have to be addressed at the end of the season.

1 thought on “Why absence of key Villa figure emphasised importance amid glaring stats

  1. Hes good in the air, strong physical presence too, especially when our other big strong CB is out on loan and new comer Carlos is injured, Chamers doesn’t have much presence at all and the bit he had was poor unfortunately, he can do a job but not agauinst the top 6/7 sides in the EPL.

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