Why Unai Emery interrupted Villa question as Emi Martinez reveals specialist injury treatment

Unai Emery's Aston Villa remain in pole position to secure a top four finish
Unai Emery's Aston Villa remain in pole position to secure a top four finish -Credit:Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

In the end, it was a defeat without consequence as Aston Villa actually gained ground on Tottenham despite losing 1-0 at Brighton.

Spurs were well-beaten 4-2 at Anfield on Sunday afternoon after being handed the opportunity to close their gap to Villa to just four points and with a game in hand. Villa knew that a victory at the Amex would pile the pressure on Tottenham with Champions League qualification on the cards.

But Unai Emery’s side weren’t able to return to condemn Brighton to what would have been their third consecutive league defeat. Joao Pedro bagged the only goal of the game in the 88th minute when he scored the rebound after seeing his penalty initially saved by Robin Olsen.

READ | John Townley's Aston Villa player ratings after 1-0 defeat at Brighton

READ | Unai Emery on Brighton defeat, 'fantastic' Olsen and injury comebacks

Here are the talking points from Villa’s defeat…


It was Ezri Konsa who was penalised for fouling Simon Adinrga which led to Joao Pedro’s winner. Adingra got goal-side of the Villa defender before falling to the ground under pressure.

Emery claimed it was a “soft” penalty. And he was right. But after referee Rob Jones blew up to award the spot-kick, VAR was never going to overturn the decision.

At the same end early on in the first half, Morgan Rogers should have been awarded a penalty considering the similarity of the foul committed against him to the one Konsa made on Adingra.

Perhaps because Adringra was in a position to either assist or score, Jones’ mind was made up, whereas the foul on Rogers may have been perceived as less detrimental in that moment. But a foul is a foul, no matter what the immediate consequence is from the action.

Villa were right to be frustrated about the inconsistency of key decisions on Sunday. Either both penalties are awarded or none at all.


This was the 53rd game Villa have played across all competitions this season, so it’s no surprise that Emery’s players looked leggy against Brighton.

It’s what makes Jones’ decision to award Brighton their penalty all the more frustrating considering the effort which the Villa players have put in. You could say that they deserved a stroke of luck, but once again, after not giving one penalty, Jones shouldn’t have given the other.

In his first answer to the opening question in his press conference, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi was quick to remind reporters that Villa’s performance was well below par due to what he claimed was fatigue and a build up of injuries.

Typically, Emery wasn't willing to use that to justify his side's showing, as he told Sky Sports: "[Tiredness] is not an excuse for us. We lost and didn't deserve more. We competed and were focused. We tried to get our chances.

"They were creating more chances than us and corners. We needed the goalkeeper and Robin Olsen played fantastically. Now the most important thing is to recover the players.

"We played against Arsenal two weeks ago in the same circumstances, more or less, and we won there. Today we didn't do it and get a good result. We didn't deserve more but we're positive, happy and proud of our work."

Asked about being winless in three across all competitions, Emery quickly interjected and said: “No, no. No negative. Positive. I am going to remind you that we won at Arsenal, during the season we won at home a lot of matches.

“You can ask me whatever you want but I want to only listen to positive things. The most important thing now is to rest tomorrow.”



Villa’s man of the match was undoubtedly Olsen. He has received his fair amount of criticism during his time at Villa, but it’s an incredibly difficult task coming in every now and again for the world’s number one.

Olsen made seven saves in total - including one to deny Brighton from the spot - and misplaced only one of the 42 passes he attempted.

“Robin was always ready to play and it is not easy to be the sub of the best goalkeeper in the world, Emiliano Martinez,” Emery explained to Sky Sports. “He is always ready and he is a very nice guy, respectful guy in the dressing room.

“He is always ready for us and he did it. Of course, when he saved the penalty I thought that he deserved it completely. But today there was bad luck with the second action.”


Martinez trained on Saturday and was due to travel with his teammates down to the south coast if he felt comfortable after the session and there was no risk of him aggravating his issue. However, clearly, he wasn’t 100 per cent ready to feature.

Martinez now faces a race against time to prove his fitness to make the squad Emery will take to Athens on Wednesday. In a bid to speed up his recovery, he has been receiving treatment from Argentina national team kinesiologist Pablo Capuchetti.

On Sunday afternoon, Martinez shared a picture on Instagram taken by Emi Buendia of Capuchetti massaging his hamstring in the back garden. The goalkeeper gave a thumbs up and captioned the pic with: "Buenos mates" while tagging Buendia and Capuchetti.


There are a few permutations which affect who finishes in the top four and when heading into the final games of the Premier League campaign. To save any final day drama, Villa can secure a top four finish by beating Liverpool in their next match.

Alternatively, if Tottenham lose one of their next two against Burnley or Man City, then it would be mathematically impossible for them to catch Villa without Emery's side even collecting another point. A draw in both games would also hand Villa Champions League football.

If Spurs were to beat Burnley, then the race for Champions League football could then be decided on Monday, May 13 when Villa host Liverpool, or the following night when Spurs entertain City.

What did you make of Villa's performance? Tell us HERE