Aston Villa endured a difficult afternoon on Saturday as they were beaten 4-2 by Leicester City at Villa Park in the Premier League and it was a rough match, in particular, for midfielder Boubacar Kamara.
The French enforcer was caught on the ball in his own penalty area just moments after Ollie Watkins had given the hosts the lead and his error allowed James Maddison to make it 1-1.
Emi Martinez played the ball to Kamara under pressure from three Leicester players but the midfielder opted to dribble his way out of it instead of hitting a first-time pass out to the right side to bypass the opposition’s press, which allowed the Foxes to dispossess him and score.
It was an out-of-character mistake from the 2022 signing as it was his first error directly leading to a shot or goal in the Premier League this season.
The 23-year-old had been in excellent form leading up to the match. Kamara has averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.85, having made 3.6 tackles and interceptions per game, whilst completing 84% of his attempted passes.
He has consistently won the ball back for the side, without being a liability in possession on the whole, and has caught the eye with his impressive displays in the middle of the park.
Whilst the Frenchman is only 23, football moves quickly and you never know what could happen in the next few years if he continues to produce excellent performances, or if the gem regresses, and this means that Unai Emery should have one eye on what life could look like after the midfielder.
With this in mind, the Spanish head coach could already have the long-term heir to Kamara at the club in the form of young defensive midfielder Tim Iroegbunam.
The 19-year-old is currently on loan at Queens Park Rangers in the Championship and has put in some excellent displays for the second-tier outfit.
On his since-deleted Twitter account, ex-QPR boss Michael Beale hailed him as a “super impressive” young man with a “bright future” and the gem’s form for the London club this term backs up the latter claim.
Iroegbunam has averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.80 having made 2.7 tackles and interceptions per game across 24 appearances in the Championship this season, whilst not making a single error directly leading to a shot or goal.
The England youth international also caught the eye in a start against Norwich in the Premier League in 2021/22 as the enforcer won five tackles and interceptions combined and completed 82% of his attempted passes – recording a Sofascore rating of 7.00.
Villa’s young gem is a combative midfielder who does not make errors on a regular basis and thus certainly has the potential to be the long-term heir to Kamara in the holding role.
However, it is down to the dynamo to continue to develop and improve to a point where he is able to consistently deliver the level of performance that was on show against the Canaries in the Premier League.