Unai Emery has no choice but to axe Nicolo Zaniolo amid Aston Villa player controversy
Unai Emery has been left with no choice but to axe Nicolo Zaniolo from his Aston Villa side after Fabrizio Romano shared he has been questioned by authorities over illegal betting allegations.
Zaniolo, alongside Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali, has left the Italian national team’s training camp after speaking to the police on 12 October.
The attacking midfield player has been somewhat of a disappointment so far this season after joining Emery’s side in the summer transfer window, and the Spaniard will now be forced to leave him out.
Having been dropped from the starting lineup for the midlands derby against Wolves on 8 October, it would have been a tough ask for him to get back into Emery’s first-team plans anyway, particularly after his disastrous display against Brighton.
A 5.9 Sofa score rating summed up his poor performance. He touched the ball just 20 times in 57 minutes on the pitch, completed just two accurate passes from six attempts, and failed to complete a single dribble.
Just one out of 13 ground duels won, losing possession twelve times, and committing four fouls rounded off a truly awful showing, and now the perfect excuse has fallen into Emery’s lap to leave him out of the side for the immediate future.
Even looking at his stats per 90 over a 365-day period, Zaniolo fails to impress. He falls in the 7th percentile for expected assists with just 0.11 per game, which is embarrassing for an attacking midfield player.
This is while ranking in the 11th percentile for successful take-ons (0.84 per game) and he drops as low as the 1st percentile for pass completion percentage, averaging at just 60.6%.
If these stats weren’t enough to remove him from the starting side in favour of a more deserving player, serious allegations of illegal betting will now force Emery’s hand.