While a 0-0 draw at home to Wolves in the Premier League is hardly the result Dean Smith would have wanted, one man who certainly emerged as a positive for the Aston Villa boss was Ahmed Elmohamady.
After coming in for some criticism from his manager for his role in one of Leicester’s goals a couple of weeks ago, the Egypt international followed that up with a really disappointing performance against Sheffield United.
That was then followed by reports that Smith had made the decision to let the veteran full-back go in the summer once his contract expired, with loanee Frederic Guilbert set to return to compete with number one right-back Matty Cash.
But the £25k-a-week-earning Elmohamady’s display against Wolves showed that perhaps he does still have a bit left in the tank, and sent a huge message to his boss that he’s got the defensive nous to still be an effective Premier League defender on his day.
As per Sofascore, the full-back finished with a match rating of 7.3, the highest of any outfield player for Villa. And when you look at the way he virtually pocketed Wolves speedster Adama Traore, it’s no surprise to see why.
Wolves’ wide-man failed to attempt any shots on goal whatsoever, and also didn’t manage to find the target with any of his four crosses. Much of that was down to the way Elmohamady was quick to shackle him and not allow him room to knock it past him and see him run away with his sheer pace.
The Villa full-back was dominant in the challenge, making two tackles and one interception, while he also won an impressive five of his six total duels on the night – that latter stat is far above his season average in the Premier League of just 2.3 per game.
Writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece said: “The Egyptian contained Traore and won his fair share of headers at the back post.
“The 33-year-old came in for a lot of stick after his error at Sheffield United but he was back to his usual, reliable self here and did what was asked of him against the jet-heeled Adama. Kept a clean sheet and was generally fine in Matty Cash’s absence once again.”
While one impressive display is hardly enough to convince Smith or any manager for that fact, of handing someone a new contract, it does raise the possibility of Elmohamady potentially earning another deal at the club with some more good performances like the one on Saturday.
Coming up against Traore is a hard task for any defender in the Premier League, let alone a 33-year-old in the twilight of his career. And yet, Elmohamady delivered a masterclass just when his long-term future is the main topic of conversation.