It seems so long ago this marathon season when he was appointed in November and the club is just three points clear of the relegation places.
The club has floundered under Steven Gerrard and although Dean Smith’s work in getting the club to the Premier League and keeping it there has been admirable, Emery has transformed the sleeping giant into a European contender.
The season for Europe’s top coaches to grab clubs by the scruff of the neck, instill their philosophy in them and make them punch above their weight. Just look at Mikel Arteta and Roberto De Zerbi.
A fascinating cornerstone of Villa’s resurgence has been their high defensive line – a tactical ploy to advance up the pitch and keep teams offside as often as possible.
Villa’s well-coordinated defensive line uses their judgment and timing to advance a few meters to deceive opponents.
If a ball is sent from behind to an attacker, defenders don’t have to worry about recovering it or blocking it because it is already offside.
Next time you watch Villa play, pay attention to how often the defense waves their hand to indicate an offside position. They know what they’re doing.
They trick attacks into playing the ball backwards and then, once the ball is played, they adjust their body position to catch an attacker offside.
Check out Ezri Konsa’s position in the photos. He immediately judges when the ball is played to curve his body and stop, but timing is crucial and must be precise.
For this reason, the Englishman stops the moment the ball leaves the player’s foot and bends his body so that it is as small as possible, as Harry Kane and Richarlison think.