During pre-season I did blame the miscommunication between Clark and Vlaar as one of the main reasons why Villa kept conceding goals in pre-season. I also thought that Clark had to be put on the bench, I believed that Baker and Okore was the future. Today I was proven wrong. The two most experienced centre-backs proved today that they are here to compete with the best, and that these two will be our main centre-backs for the season. Alright, maybe I went a little to far with that last statement but against Arsenal, it was the presence of Clark that helped us see this game out.
Baker got injured in the 17th minute, I believed he deserved a spot in the starting 11 after his fantastic performances in pre-season. But when Clark came on I honestly thought that would be it, Arsenal would easily be able to get past us, cut our defence and so on. The outcome was the exactly opposite. The defence line was stronger, more shots were blocked and I think there was better communication between the midfield and defence.
Vlaar and Clark didn’t play a perfect game, Rosicky got through the defence same as Giroud, but the two centre-backs often reacted quickly enough to repair the mistake. Luna played more solid under Clark, and Guzan felt better protected as well.
I still have my slight doubts about Vlaar and Clark playing together, but against Arsenal they showed they are better than what the majority of us, well me at least, thought of them. The defensive line was strong, they weren’t bullied either. Chelsea will be a different monster, and I wonder if the two centre-backs of Vlaar and Clark will be able to contain the beasts that are Chelsea?
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