Team news came out before Sunday’s disastrous defeat to Leeds United. There was no Axel Tuanzebe in the matchday squad. Dean Smith confirmed the young defender will miss several weeks with a metatarsal injury.
Jack Grealish is the best player at Aston Villa Football Club.
But the two most irreplaceable players at the club (mostly down to a lack of other capable options) are probably James Chester and Axel Tuanzebe. The pair has flourished together since the arrival of Dean Smith at manager. Despite floundering goalkeeper and fullback play beside them, the two players have formed a good starting partnership.
But questions remained on who would replace the pair should an injury befall either starter. Would it be Mile Jedinak who did not show well at the position early on in the season? Would 20-year old James Bree or the veteran Alan Hutton slide from right-back to central defense? What about 18-year old Dominic Revan, who has made the bench in recent weeks?
Team news came out vs. Leeds United and Axel Tuanzebe’s name was missing. Smith confirmed the Manchester United loanee injured his metatarsal in training and will miss a period of several weeks. During the most important stretch of matches for Aston Villa, this is a disaster and Sunday’s showing showed that.
With nominal left-back Neil Taylor additionally out, Alan Hutton slid to left-back as Ahmed Elmohamady continued on the right side. James Bree got the call to partner James Chester at the heart of the Villa defense.
It was Bree’s first appearance since October 6th and rustiness showed early on. Bree twice failed to clear low crosses inside the first ten minutes and was nearly beat on high long ball shortly after. He improved as the match went on, but hardly impressed as a whole. If Villa are to keep top-six aspirations they must weather this upcoming storm and avoid losses wherever possible. Defensive reinforcement is coming in January, but it’s undetermined when a signing (or two or three) might arrive.
With three more games in nine days, Axel Tuanzebe’s absence will be felt.