Aston Villa star eases Boubacar Kamara's absence with midfield masterclass

Fulham FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
Fulham FC v Aston Villa - Premier League / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Aston Villa's season has been marred by a devastating injury crisis, leaving their defence decimated. But amid the gloom, one player has risen above expectations – John McGinn. The Scotsman's tactical shift has turned a crisis into an opportunity and helped secure crucial points for the club.

Aston Villa's midfield mainstay John McGinn is known for his marauding runs and tireless energy, but rarely for his defensive prowess. That all changed when manager Unai Emery, desperate to cover the gap left by Boubacar Kamara's long-term injury, thrust McGinn into a deeper midfield anchor role. The results have been surprisingly outstanding.

In the recent win over Fulham, McGinn's transformation was complete. Trading lung-busting runs for tackles and interceptions (3 tackles, 7/11 duels won), the combative Scot kept Fulham's midfield at bay. In the words of the opposition manager, Marco Silva, McGinn was "outstanding" and made the difference.

McGinn's shift was not just about steel. It provided a stable platform for Villa's creative midfielders to flourish. Freed from some defensive anchors, Youri Tielemans roamed into dangerous pockets, setting up Leon Bailey's headed goal with pinpoint precision.

Emery's tactical boldness in trusting McGinn to fill Kamara's shoes is paying off. Despite some considering him a back-up option, McGinn's consistent form (6 goals, 2 assists already this season) proves otherwise. "McGinn is underrated," commented former Villa defender Joleon Lescott, "he could play in a top-six side."

Beyond individual brilliance, this Villa side boasts a collective spirit overcoming their defensive nightmare scenario. Players are stepping up, Emery remains positive, and the return of injured stars adds a promising glimmer on the horizon.

While losing Kamara is undoubtedly a setback, John McGinn's adaptability has made all the difference. His newfound role provides invaluable balance and even unlocks attacking potential. As Aston Villa weather the injury storm, it is the leadership and versatility of players like McGinn that is helping them not just survive, but thrive.