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Konsa & Mings Partnership

Aston Villa are enjoying a fantastic start to the season. Four consecutive wins in all competitions including two clean sheets out of two in the Premier League. Villa’s major improvement defensively has been clear for all to see since last season resumed after lockdown. In this feature article, I will be discussing the emerging partnership between Villa two centre halves Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings – a partnership and friendship which started with the bottom of Mings’ boot.

Those final four games of last season highlighted Villa’s best and more balanced centre back partnership in Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa. Both were colossal in those final four games of last season as Villa secured their safety.

That tremendous form has carried into this season with two proving unstoppable at both ends of the pitch. Dean Smith has found a settled partnership and clearly he relies on both to orchestrate the defence.

Mings has been a consistent performer since his arrival at the club. He has endeared himself to all aspects of the club and is quite rightly loved by the fans. However, while he has been excellent defensively, his lack of a strong partner was evident throughout last season. For all the world, it looked like Bjorn Engels would be that man but injuries and a loss of form ultimately pushed him down the pecking order. Kortney Hause has also featured alongside Mings and when the latter was recovering from injury. However, while Hause has shown glimpses of defensive awareness, he is rash and prone to a mistake.

Cue the emergence of Ezri Konsa. The talented centre half took his time to settle in B6 but he has shown he is quality central defender. Smith has clear faith him having worked with him in the past. Konsa stepped into the fray and hasn’t looked back. He has built a strong connection on and off the pitch with Mings and clearly Villa’s six match unbeaten run in the Premier League is no coincidence. What is also telling is Villa have kept clean sheets in four of their last six Premier League games conceding just twice in that time – A major improvement.

Konsa and Mings have certainly played a huge role in terms of Villa’s defensive improvements. Its an exciting partnership that can only get better throughout this season providing both can avoid injuries.

Both bring different attributes to the table that makes their relationship work. Ezri has pace, endeavour, passion and good reading of the game. He marshalled Aleksandar Mitrovic brilliantly in the recent Fulham win. Konsa has also shown he is not afraid of a challenge and will fight for the cause. He is regularly in communication with Matty Cash who he shares the right hand side with and goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. He is blossoming brilliantly under the eyes of Dean Smith and John Terry. As well as his effectiveness at the back, Konsa is proving he is threat at the other end. His Villa goals have brought us four points in the last six league games. A vital stab against Everton in the survival run in and a header in the opener of the new campaign against Sheffield United. Konsa is quickly growing into an established, strong Premier League centre back.

With Konsa bringing plenty to the partnership, Mings also brings his fair share of attributes. He is the voice in the defence - a regular communicator organising Villa’s defence and his emergence as a leader has been hugely positive for the whole team. Like Konsa, Mings brings pace, passion and a strong reading of the game. He is not afraid to fight for the cause and ruffle a few feathers when needed. His confidence quite rightly is sky high after an amazing 20 months donning the famous claret and blue. England caps and a brand new deal emphasise his growth as a player and his importance to Aston Villa.

What is a notable point of their relationship is the communication between Konsa and Mings. They are in regular dialogue which has been key to their success as a partnership. At every set piece both defensively and offensively it is clear they discuss where to position themselves and who to mark. In addition to this, at every attacking set piece, you can see straight away the two in discussions, one darts to the near and the other to the far and as seen against Sheffield United, its proving effective. The relationship between the two offensively could a very dangerous weapon for Villa this season.

Dean Smith has been matriculate when sorting our defensive frailties and it appears he has found a partnership he totally trusts. So much so both defenders were handed number changes before the season began. Konsa took 4, the number worn by Villa icons like Olof Mellberg. Mings took 5, worn by icons like Paul McGrath and Martin Laursen. Both understandably are honoured and humbled by their number changes and both are well aware of the pressure that brings. However, you can clearly see they absolutely love playing together and have strong mutual respect for each other.

Certainly, there partnership is one us Villa fans are quite rightly excited about. The future is bright with two of England’s brightest centre halves playing together. Konsa is developing brilliantly and growing with every game he plays. His development will only increase alongside Mings. Its exciting times for Aston Villa with a steady, exciting defensive partnership not seen since Martin O’Neill’s era.

Both players deserve huge credit for attitude, application and brilliant understanding. Its fantastic to see that we finally have a solid, strong centre back pairing that will only get better and both can certainly put themselves in Villa history if their partnership continues to grow.

Article by: Matt Creamer

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