Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via Birmingham Live), Steven Gerrard revealed that Ezri Konsa – who was withdrawn with a knock in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last weekend – will now be unavailable for Villa’s meeting with the Whites’ relegation rivals Burnley this evening, as the centre-back has sustained a knee injury that will rule him out of action for at least 12 weeks.
Regarding the 24-year-old’s setback, the Aston Villa manager said: “Ezri, it’s been confirmed that he’s got a bad knee issue so he’ll be out for anything between 12 to 16 weeks, which isn’t great news. He should return, all being well, at the back-end of August, beginning of September.”
Considering the fact that Aston Villa’s first-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is also a doubt for tonight’s meeting with Burnley, the additional news that Konsa will now be unavailable to face the Clarets is sure to have left Jesse Marsch fuming.
With a Burnley victory at Villa Park seeing Leeds’ chances of securing survival on the final day of the season drastically decrease, the American will undoubtedly be hoping for a big Villa win this evening – something that is certainly dented by Konsa’s absence.
Indeed, over his 29 Premier League appearances this term, the £22.5m-rated talent has been a key part of Gerrard’s backline, helping his side keep eight clean sheets and scoring two goals, as well as making an average of 0.5 interceptions, 0.9 tackles, 2.8 tackles and winning 4.3 duels – at a success rate of 64% – per game.
“He’s been outstanding for me, obviously the red card [against Leeds] was frustrating for him and us because he is an important player. His level of consistency has been really high, whether that be on the training pitch or in a match situation.”
As such, it is clear for all to see that the loss of Konsa will come as a big boost to Burnley’s chances of leaving Villa Park with all three points – a result which would see the Clarets move two points clear of Leeds with just one game left to play.
And, with Burnley boasting a goal difference that is 20 better than the Whites, should Michael Jackson’s side indeed secure victory this evening, it would mean that Leeds must win and Burnley must lose on the final day if Marsch’s side wish to finish above the Clarets come the final whistle on Sunday.