February 24, 2024

In Villa’s last two games—a 3-1 victory against Luton Town and a 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest—Zaniolo was replaced at halftime.

The difficulties facing the Italy player coincide with his involvement in off-field issues with a probe into illicit betting.

Zaniolo has been supporting his country’s authorities, but he has denied ever placing a wager on a football game.

Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Emery acknowledged that he is not making the best use of Zaniolo at the moment following his most recent lackluster performance in the depressing loss at City Ground.

He serves a single purpose for us. “It’s not his ideal role, but he’s supporting us,” he stated, according to the Express & Star [November 6, 2011].

“I want to give him more time to get to know his teammates and raise his level of interaction with us.”

After signing on a temporary basis, Zaniolo has made 13 appearances for Villa without scoring a goal or providing an assist, regardless of the position he has been played in.

Nonetheless, it is undeniable that the 24-year-old finds it difficult to participate in games when he is utilized on the left side.

He only made 23 touches of the ball in the Forest match before his team was substituted at the interval, trailing their Midlands opponents by a goal.

In comparison, the player who came in for him in the second half, Leon Bailey, only managed 36 touches of the ball [WhoScored].
Zaniolo had the highest number of ineffective touches of any Villa player with three, according to WhoScored.

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Any choice would have been preferable given the single successful dribble and the expected goals (xG) value of 0.21 [Sofascore].

Zaniolo will undoubtedly improve with time, but Emery cannot keep starting him wide and then benching him in the end.

Rather, it would be wiser to reserve the Italian and, should the necessity arise, bring him on in his preferred position in the second half.

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