Aston Villa


By ’Tayo Amosu

October 10, 2014

In the English Premier League, the team with the most available key players are always very formidable but the inevitability of injuries makes it even more interesting as many more players would get their chances when key players are out.

For Ron Vlaar, the Netherland and Aston Villa defender, it is a case of a quick rise after fall.

The centre back sustained a calf injury in Aston Villa’s 2-1 victory against Hull City on the 31st of August this season and he is set to return against the Premier League bout with Everton at Goodison Park on the 18th of October.

In his absence, Phillipe Senderos and Nathan Baker held the central defensive pairing but not much was achieved after Vlaar’s injury but rather Aston Villa suffered 3 consecutive defeats from Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Aston Villa’s impressive start to the season turned around after Vlaar’s injury as they have conceded 8 goals from their last 3 matches.

For many of the Aston Villa fans, the return of Ron Vlaar may yet turn their woes around as the Dutchman is known to co-ordinate the defence with great leadership qualities.

Before the game against Arsenal in September, Aston Villa was second on the English Premier League table winning Liverpool, Hull City and Stoke City with their only draw against Newcastle United in their second match of the 2014/2015 English Premier League season.

The 3-0 thumping of Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa by Arsenal ended the Birmingham side’s unbeaten run this season.

Part of the reason why these losses happened was defensive indiscipline and momentary loss of concentration that would have been alleviated were Ron Vlaar available for the matches.

After the game against Arsenal, the Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert said: ‘‘To play Arsenal, you need everyone fit and we never had that, but all credit to them for the second half- the lads were running on empty.’’

Arsenal scored 3 goals in 3 minutes only in the first half of the game. This underlines the momentary loss of concentration by the defence in Vlaar’s absence.

Similarly, the games against Chelsea and Manchester City proved that the Aston Villa defence really lacked a leader like Vlaar.

In the Chelsea game, Aston Villa also conceded 3 avoidable goals by Oscar in the 9th minute, Diego Costa in the 59th minute and Willian in the 79th minute.

Against Manchester City, Aston Villa conceded two late goals by Yaya Toure in the 82nd minute and Sergio Aguero in the 88th minute, which also underlines the loss of concentration by the defenders and other Villa players.

After the match, Lambert said: ‘‘For 82 minutes we were in it and Kieran Richardson had a really good chance after they hit the post. That is how tight it is.’’

Now, with the news of Ron Vlaar’s come back against Everton, the embarrassments that come with losing are likely to stop.

Under Paul Lambert, the Villa side has shown some resilience and intent as seen in the match against a top side like Liverpool.

With Vlaar’s leadership and Paul Lambert’s managerial skills, Aston Villa would likely mount a better challenge on the English Premier League than last season’s.