Everyone knows Tyrone Mings has played a huge role in Aston Villa’s incredible end to the season, but one stat reveals he might just be the most important player in the entire squad.
Villa take on Derby County at Wembley on Monday, and both teams know how to stick the ball in the back of the net.
The Villans of course have the division’s second-highest scorer in Tammy Abraham (26), while the Rams bagged four against Leeds United at Elland Road in their play-off showdown.
The big difference between the two sides however is in defence, where Dean Smith’s side have become one of the strongest units in the league since January, and it’s largely down to one man.
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Per Villa Report, Steve Bruce and then Smith’s side conceded 46 times in the first 29 matches of the Championship season, an average of 1.59 goals per game.
Since Mings arrived on loan in January, they have conceded just 16 in the 18 games he has featured in, or 0.89 per game.
The contrast between the two numbers is truly mind-blowing, and while Smith’s decision to stick with Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor at full-back has also made a difference, the arrival of Mings was the clear turning point in the season.
The 26 year-old can play anywhere across the back four, but his elite athleticism, power and ability on the ball makes him the perfect centre back, and if truth be told it’s almost looked too easy for him at times since his arrival.
Regardless of what happens on Monday, securing Mings on a permanent deal must be the first priority this summer. The season turned on January 31, and Smith now finally has the defensive solidity to accompany his rip-roaring attacking style.