After James Chester was unsurprisingly voted as Player of the Season, our fifth award celebrates the man that we here at The Claret and View have decided doesn’t get the recognition or plaudits he deserves, with a prize we are calling the ‘Hidden Impact’ award. Even shortlisting the players wasn’t easy, but the three nominees were finalised as Lewis Grabban, Conor Hourihane and Ahmed Elmohamady.
It took little time for a winner to become clear, as Ahmed Elmohamady was unanimously awarded the Hidden Impact award by the writers here at The Claret and View.
Why Ahmed Elmohamady won our Votes
The Egyptian has been somewhat of a main-stay in Bruce’s team this season, playing in 43 of the 46 games within the regular Championship campaign. Bought in the summer from Hull, Elmohamady certainly raised a few eyebrows as he walked through the doors of Villa Park, with Hutton, Bree and De Laet already being on the club’s books as right backs, but the way he has made the position his own is very impressive. His attacking threat coupled with defensive nous is what separates him from the others and makes him a vital figure in the Villa back line.
When he’s not covering James Chester and fulfilling his defensive duties, Elmohamady is in the attacking third of the pitch looking to create something, even if it just space for Robert Snodgrass. Without the Egyptian, Snodgrass would not have had such a remarkable season in a Villa shirt, and this is just one of the reasons that makes Ahmed Elmohamady so important. A moment that has likely been overlooked by the majority of fans is his involvement in Snodgrass’ winner at Brammall Lane in the 1-0 win over Sheffield United in January, where despite not actually touching the ball in the build up to the goal, the right back created the chance for Snodgrass with his perfect run. Overlapping the winger is something Elmohamady has done time and time again, and on this occasion, it gave Snodgrass just enough time and space to curl home the winner. The pre-existing relationship between these two key figures has undoubtedly gone a long way to helping Villa finish fourth in the table, and while loanee Snodgrass is the one receiving all the plaudits, Elmohamady quietly goes about his job, rarely putting a foot wrong (let’s forget his sensational own goal against Burton for a second) and having an important but largely ignored impact on the game.
Experienced and astute, Elmohamady is the perfect right back for Villa in this rebuilding period and has gone about his job admirably. Four assists is a very respectable contribution to Villa’s attacking threat, and remarkably featuring in all 20 Championship games that resulted in a clean sheet for Aston Villa this season (not including Play Offs) is a record that any defender would be proud of. He may not be the fan’s favourite, but there’s a reason he’s the manager’s favourite, and without him it could easily be argued that Villa would be much worse off. He may be unsung, but Ahmed Elmohamady is certainly an essential cog in the Aston Villa machine.