Kortney Hause started in the midweek clash against Chelsea and it was his dominance in this game which possibly made Dean Smith’s decision for him regarding the starting line-up today.
Axel Tuanzebe was the first option as the third centre back in the new system of five at the back. However, following Hause’s dominant display, which was integral in the win against Manchester United, Tuanzebe’s return to the starting line-up may be under threat.
Hause’s obvious contribution in this game was the winning goal however his defensive performance was equally as important in ensuring all three points came back to Birmingham.
He recorded one clearance, two blocks, two interceptions as well as winning 100% of his aerial duels and completing four long balls. He was dominant in the air and his presence defensively made it almost impossible for Cristiano Ronaldo to make a lasting impact on the game.
Throughout several years’ defenders have been seeking the secret formula to stop Ronaldo and Hause did it with ease in this match. He limited the Portuguese star to a 70% pass accuracy and zero shots on target. Ronaldo had previously scored in every game since his return to United, until he faced Hause.
Ashley Preece discussed Hause’s claim to remain in the line-up based off his recent performances in a Villa shirt on the latest episode of the Claret & Blue podcast, he stated: “He was incredible today. He pocketed Ronaldo, Ronaldo was very quiet today, Hause was winning all the aerial duels. United could still be playing now and they wouldn’t score.
Hause is the ultimate squad player, keeps at it and is always ready and willing. What a snip at £3 million!.”
The Aston Villa defender has developed massively whilst working with Dean Smith and has exceeded the £3 million expectations that Villa had when they signed him. He is entering his final year of his contract and after performances like this, Villa should be acting sooner rather than later in extending his time at the club.
He was integral in giving Villa their first win against United in over a decade and he could be a vital piece to the puzzle this season. Dominant in the air, fast, calm on the ball and first and foremost an excellent defender, Hause is deserving of a deal that reflects his the contributions he makes to this side.
The 26-year-old has now dealt with Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo in just a matter of days. With Harry Kane the next obstacle Villa must run through, they may have found the perfect antidote against world class strikers, and he only cost £3 million.