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Aston Villa: Emery must unleash Luiz vs Southampton

Aston Villa have enjoyed a rejuvenation of sorts under Unai Emery, losing just once in the Premier League since he took charge in November and the Spaniard will now be looking to steer his side into the top half of the table.

A trip away to Southampton is a chance to secure another three points and although the Saints are fighting to stay in the division, Emery’s men should have just too much for them this afternoon.

The 2-1 victory over Leeds United last week will give Villa plenty of confidence heading into the match today and there were some excellent performances.

Emiliano Buendia scored what turned out to be the winner, while Ezri Konsa was a rock at the back, winning 100% of his duels, yet it was Douglas Luiz who stole the show with his performance and Emery must unleash him against Southampton.

“Dictates rhythm”

Luiz ranks as Villa’s best performer this season with an average Sofascore rating of 7.00 and his performance against Leeds was one of his finest of the campaign. Brazilian journalist Fernando Campos lauded his display, saying: “Another great performance by Douglas Luiz with the Aston Villa shirt. He scores a lot, circles the entire field and dictates rhythm with quality.”

Statman Dave also sang his praises, claiming Luiz put in an “excellent performance” and his statistics during the game certainly justify the credit.

The £75k-per-week midfielder played the full 90 minutes and received the best Sofascore rating on the pitch, 7.70, as he took 73 touches, made two key passes and created a big chance during the tie.

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It was his defensive display that was key to Villa securing all three points, as the Brazilian won ten duels, made two clearances, four interceptions, five tackles and was dribbled past just once – demonstrating just how good he can be when his side are under attack.

Emery must unleash him and hope he can replicate this type of form not only against the Saints but for the rest of the season. Although he could face a fight to keep him at the club come to the end of the campaign.