Ahmed Elmohamady put in a Man Of the Match performance against Hull on Monday – could he prove to be Villa’s answer at right-wing?
Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand)
On Monday Ahmed Elmohamady put in a man of the match performance against Hull City. With 70 minutes gone, the Egyptian put Villa ahead with a finish across David Marshall after a one-two with Conor Hourihane. Five minutes later Elmohamady set up Alan Hutton for his first goal in four years to kill the game off.
He did all this while playing on the right wing. Many Villa fans were critical of Steve Bruce’s mishmash of a team selection going into the game, and there were calls for Andre Green to start due to his excellent form in pre-season.
But in general, Ahmed Elmohamady looked comfortable on that right side. The Egyptian international didn’t stop running and put in cross after cross. His goal was very much the fruits of his labour, especially as he could’ve got one in the first half had Kodjia found him charging up the field.
However, some of his crosses were blind, a common criticism labelled at him by Hull fans during the end of his tenure there. Also, in the first half Elmo struggled to beat left back Stephen Kingsley, even though the Egyptian did get more change out of the Scotsman in the second.
Ahmed Elmohamady played as a winger for Bruce at Sunderland, then at Hull it was at wing-back. So it’s clear that Villa’s boss trusts him in any position along that right flank. Could he make that right-wing role at Villa his own though?
Bruce’s problem is that there are too many right-backs in the squad and not enough right wingers. Alan Hutton, Ritchie De Laet and James Bree – as well as Ahmed Elmohamady are all good enough to start week in week out in the Championship. On the surface, the smart move would be to push the Egyptian, one of Aston Villa’s most consistent players last term, up to accommodate one of other three.
Elmohamady is a good winger, and an even better wing back, but it can’t be understated how important he was on the right side of defence last term. The former Hull man played in 43 of Villa’s 46 2017-18 league games and featured every time the Aston Villa got a clean sheet.
Plus, the 30-year-old got four assists last season, and played a big part in Robert Snodgrass’ eight goals and thirteen assists with his constant overlapping; freeing up time and space for the Scot to cut inside. In terms of complimenting the winger, there is no better right back in the Championship than Ahmed Elmohamady.
Keeping Elmohamady at right back could allow Albert Adomah, who has frankly been poor on the left side for a while now, back to his usual position where he can get crosses in first time on his stronger foot.
Either way, with Elmohamady performing so well at right back in recent times, there’s every reason to move around players so that Villa’s Mr Consistent #2 (#1 being James Chester, obviously) can play in the role where he’s done so well.