Unai Emery names four players to fill Aston Villa void - and they’re not all who you’d expect

Following the news of Boubacar Kamara’s expected month-long injury lay-off, these are Unai Emery’s four favourite replacements.

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has revealed his four favoured replacements for Boubacar Kamara, with the defensive midfielder set for a month or so on the sidelines. The Frenchman hobbled off with the assistance of Villa’s medical staff in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last weekend.

The victim of a reckless Cheick Doucoure challenge, Kamara has been confirmed by The Athletic to have injured his ankle. Kamara has played a key role beside Douglas Luiz at the base of midfield, but Villa will have to fill the void for a while – perhaps until as late as mid-April. This is set to cause Unai Emery quite the selection headache, but there are options available.

“As a midfielder, Calum Chambers he plays sometimes with me at Arsenal and he played as well with Fulham as a midfielder, so I can use him in this position,” Emery suggested after the Palace game. “I can use other players – maybe [Jacob] Ramsey, maybe John McGinn, or maybe another. Dendoncker as well [when he is back]. I think they can adapt to help us in this position.”

It will not be easy for any of these players to come in and do as well as Kamara, however, with the 23-year-old fitting Emery’s system so well. In fact, the former Arsenal head coach has only taken charge of one Premier League game without Kamara as a starter – and this was Emery’s debut, at home against Manchester United.

“Bouba is growing up a lot and he is very intelligent,” Emery continued. “He is young but he understands football overall and he has potential. Progressively he is playing better. Defensively is his first characteristics but with the ball he is improving a lot, being calm, keeping possession and switching from right to left in the right moments.”

Unai Emery has a selection headache following Boubacar Kamara’s injury vs Crystal Palace.
Unai Emery has a selection headache following Boubacar Kamara’s injury vs Crystal Palace.
Unai Emery has a selection headache following Boubacar Kamara’s injury vs Crystal Palace.

Emery mentioning the likes of Chambers, Ramsey and McGinn to fill in suggests he is willing to put players in positions they are otherwise not so used to. Although Chambers has played there in the past and he did well during the final half an hour against Palace, he is a defender by nature. Ramsey and McGinn are more attacking-minded, especially the former.

Dendoncker being mentioned last was unexpected, given he is perhaps the most natural fit for the position desired. The Belgian was absent from the matchday squad last time out, however. Personal circumstances were deemed the reason by Emery, who will be scratching his head at which player to give a shot in Villa’s next game – away at West Ham United on Sunday.