Elmohamady was a key part of Aston Villa getting into the Premier League. He could be a key part in keeping them there.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Ahmed Elmohamady played a large role in the promotion of Aston Villa to the Premier League, and he could prove to play another leading role in keeping them there as the season edges closer to its conclusion.
Egyptian National Team captain Elmohamady was drafted in to replace Kortney Hause against Crystal Palace at the last minute yesterday, without the option of a ‘proper’ warm-up and performed exceptionally well coming up against the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew who would switch position throughout the game.
This allowed Ezri Konsa to move into his more natural position at right centre-back, which in turn provided more defensive security as Aston Villa registered their first clean sheet in five games, and their first clean sheet victory since December.
Whilst Elmohamady has a range of exceptional in-game attributes, he also offers much more. His leadership aids the defensive stability in the side, matching that of Tyrone Mings and Pepe Reina at the back – and that’s showcased by a resolute defensive display on Sunday.
But as well as this, he offers a friendly face for Trezeguet, his national side team-mate, who clutched up in yesterday’s game and bagged a brace. Watch the game back, and you’ll see the pair discussing things about the game often, and the way that the winger looks up to the man sitting behind him on the pitch.
During Aston Villa’s promotion campaign, Elmohamady enjoyed an exceptional number of touches per game, often registering within the top three players on the pitch for those in claret and blue. When Elmohamady sees more of the ball, it’s more likely that Dean Smith’s men are going to get something from the game.
Compared to the other suitable option at right-back, Frederic Guilbert, Elmohamady has seen significantly less game time this season, amassing 692 minutes of football compared to the Frenchman’s 1,457.
However, the statistics show some interesting information when directly looking at the differences between the two fullbacks. According to smarterscout, Guilbert is more astute defensively, whilst Elmohamady offers more of an attacking output – whilst also retaining the ball more often.
As well as this, Elmohamady and Guilbert offer similar metrics in regards to the sides xG – a metric that Dean Smith is fond of. Guilbert boasts a higher xG percentage in regard to his passes, but Ahmed Elmohamady beats his French peer in percantage xG from receiving the ball, and his involvement in moves ending in a shot.
Their xG percentages charting their involvement in total expected goals and moves ending in a goal are also relatively similar.
However, with Guilbert potentially not fully fit, showcased with his consistent bench-warming in recent games – and the additional benefits of having Trezeguet and Elmohamady in the same eleven which have come to fruition against both Palace and Leicester City see Elmohamady having paramount importance in the final run in.
That, and his leadership skills are bound to help.