EPL

Unai Emery eases concerns over Leon Bailey's fitness after Arsenal victory

By Sports Desk December 11, 2023

Aston Villa's head coach, Unai Emery, has moved to calm concerns over the fitness of Jamaican sensation Leon Bailey after the winger was substituted at halftime during their pivotal 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Villa Park.

Bailey, who provided the crucial assist for John McGinn's seventh-minute goal, raised eyebrows when he did not emerge from the tunnel for the second half.

Emery addressed the situation in the post-match press conference, providing insight into Bailey's condition. Despite the initial worry among Villa fans, Emery hinted that fatigue rather than injury might be the reason for the substitution.

"He was tired, completely tired! Hopefully, he's not injured, but I don't know exactly," Emery reassured, offering a glimmer of hope regarding Bailey's well-being.

Bailey's impactful performance against Arsenal came on the heels of his winning goal against Manchester City last Wednesday night. His ability to make a difference in crucial matches has quickly endeared him to Villa supporters.

However, the Jamaican international has battled injury concerns since joining Aston Villa from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2021. Despite these challenges, Bailey has remarkably missed just one league match throughout the season, sitting out the 6-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion back in September.

The timing of Bailey's potential setback raises questions about his availability for the upcoming Europa Conference League clash against Zrinjski on Thursday night.

The hope is that Bailey's early substitution against Arsenal was a precautionary measure to manage fatigue rather than a recurrence of his injury struggles. As Villa pursues success on multiple fronts, including European competition, the fitness of key players like Leon Bailey remains a critical factor in their aspirations for a successful campaign.

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