6 ft Aston Villa ace proving he’s ready to battle 24 y/o for regular PL starts – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

As Frederic Guilbert gets ready to finally walk through the doors at Villa Park, Ahmed Elmohamady’s place in the team could be under threat.

The French right-back initially signed last January, although he was loaned back to Ligue 1 outfit Caen.

However, after helping his side to stay in the division, he’ll now be playing in the Premier League.

The 24-year-old was impressive from a defensive point of view, making 2.9 tackles per game and 2.3 interceptions throughout 2018/19.

Yet, Elmohamady has shown strides in recent times that may keep him at the front of Dean Smith’s mind.

Elmohamady played a vast amount of last season on the right of midfield, but towards the back end of last season played more regularly as a right-back.

As a result, he and Guilbert are likely to vie for a place in the side throughout 2018/19.

The Egyptian’s recent performances though suggests he could still have what it takes.

For Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, the 6 ft defender has been excellent, scoring twice in three group games for the hosts.

On Sunday evening he was particularly impressive, demonstrating his defensive capabilities by winning four aerial duels and making three clearances.

If you compare that to his average in the Championship last season, he won 1.9 aerial duels per game and made the same number of clearances.

Villa fans will likely be aware of his attacking qualities after seeing him claim eight assists last campaign and he was again superb going forward against Uganda at the weekend.

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He was on the score-sheet for his country, racing forward from defence to get on the end of a cross from the left.

The 31-year-old’s touch was immaculate before rifling the ball into the bottom corner.

It was the perfect demonstration of what he can offer to Smith next season and his qualities going forward could be the deciding factor in whether he plays or not.

Certainly, against teams who prefer to sit back he may be more useful, something that was evident against Uganda in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Yet, from a defensive point of view, he has also shown he may have what it takes to match Guilbert’s qualities.

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