Kortney Hause proved that he deserves to keep his place in the Aston Villa team with his performance in the 2-1 win against Burnley.
Dean Smith’s decision to change to three at the back turned out to be a masterstroke, as Aston Villa earned three points to get them out of the relegation zone.
As well as allowing for more defensive solidity, the formation switch also ensured that Kortney Hause kept his place in the team, despite Tyrone Mings making his return to the starting lineup following a four-game absence.
Hause had not played a single minute of Premier League football before that spell, but he has consistently shown that he deserves to hold down a starting spot, something that was reiterated at Turf Moor.
The 6 foot 3 inch defender had a real presence on the left of Villa’s back three throughout the game, alongside Mings and Ezri Konsa.
He completed two of the three tackles that he attempted during the 90 minutes, as well as six clearances – only Mings had a higher number in the latter of those categories.
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As can perhaps be expected due to his physical stature, Hause was dominant in the air, winning a total of five aerial duels, which was only exceeded by Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski.
He also saw quite a lot of the ball. Jack Grealish, Douglas Luiz and Konsa were the only Villa players who had more than the 3.8% of the game’s overall possession that Hause went on to record.
Mings has rightfully received plenty of plaudits for his performance, especially when it is considered that this was his return from injury.
However, Hause also deserves credit, having ensured that he will remain in Smith’s thinking for a starting place in the team, whether the manager sticks with a back three or reverts to a four again.