John McGinn rightly took a lot of the plaudits for Aston Villa’s midfield performance against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, largely thanks to his goal.
However, Conor Hourihane was also an integral player for the midfield, who stood strong against Spurs’ unrelenting attacks for such a long period of the match.
The Republic of Ireland international has had some pressure put on his place in the team by the signings of Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba, but he has staked his claim well during this game.
Being the deepest of Villa’s midfield three, the defensive part of Hourihane’s game was always going to be important at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and he thrived.
The Irishman completed all three of the tackles he attempted, as well as making four clearances and two interceptions, as per WhoScored.
He was also effective with the ball at his feet, making one key pass, while completing 88% of his attempted passes and the one dribble he made – considering how much Aston Villa were pinned back, having just 29.9% of possession, this is a good contribution.
The 28-year-old was dispossessed once, while it happened to John McGinn four times – more often than any other player on the pitch.
There will be challenges to Hourihane’s spot now that the two new holding midfielders are at Villa Park, but he has shown he won’t give up his place in the team without a fight.
He was an integral player for Villa on Saturday and could be going into future matches if he continues with performances like this.
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