He started the Chelsea game within the double pivot of the familiar 4-3-2-1 formation Dean Smith has opted for so frequently throughout recent seasons. He managed to play 42 minutes before having to signal to the bench he wasn’t able to carry on.
Fans got a glimpse of the player he truly is in this short time, and it is frustrating knowing he may have another injury preventing him from solidifying himself within the starting line-up.
The statistics in his short cameo hint that he could be a real asset in the future if he can just stay injury-free.
Sanson looked composed and sharp on the ball and was extremely aware of his surroundings.
He completed 13 passes in the first half and one of them led to a big chance being created. His key pass to Cameron Archer was inch perfect and it slotted the young striker in perfectly, who sadly on this occasion couldn’t finish his effort.
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He completed 100% of his dribbles and outlined how he is capable of dragging Villa forward from deeper positions.
He was partnered with Marvelous Nakamba so the fact he took the load of this progressive responsibility will take pressure of his partner who is often criticised regarding his ability on the ball.
Fans also got to see just how useful he is defensively.
He ran tirelessly across the pitch as he pursued any Chelsea player on the ball. When he signed for Villa, many people said he would bring a ‘third lung’ work-rate and fans got to see this on full display at Stamford Bridge.
Following his pressing he also got results. He won six ground duels with a 100% success rate and truly dominated his opponents in 50/50 battles. The three tackles he recorded disrupted the Chelsea midfield and allowed Villa to break, as the chance for Archer outlined.
It is unclear how serious the injury is, but Sanson looked visibly frustrated when Villa were forced into making the decision to substitute Carney Chukwuemeka on in his place just before half-time.
It appeared to be a hamstring injury for the Frenchmen, which could lead to another period on the sidelines like Bertrand Traore also just experienced.
Smith will be hoping this isn’t the case, however, as with John McGinn’s fitness unclear after concussion protocols, he may be short of options in midfield on Saturday against Manchester United.
It may have only been a short snippet, but Sanson showed why Johan Lange was so keen to sign him in this display.
An immense work-rate coupled with fantastic ability going forward. The injury is unfortunate but hopefully he can eventually find both fitness and the form everyone now knows he can show in a Villa shirt.
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