In the press today there have been a few articles posted about Aston Villa’s defensive pairing. Currently we have 4 centre-backs that are fighting for a starting 11 spot: Vlaar, Okore, Baker and Clark. In pre-season Baker has been the star performer, always got involved, and made the greatest impact in pre-season. Clark appeared to be the least impressive, frequently have miscommunications with his defensive partner and just not looking all the strong and confident.
But here’s the big one, Vlaar hasn’t stepped up his performance from last season! In pre-season, Vlaar has played a good amount of games in pre-season, but he just hasn’t been as solid as Lambert ‘expects’ him to be. Vlaar isn’t being as vocal as he should, he isn’t commanding the area as well either. In today’s game against Malaga, Vlaar has certainly performed slightly better but I think this season, a starting spot will not be guaranteed. Okore hasn’t had as much game time, but when he has featured, he has been solid. Okore is fast, strong and has the makings of a good defender.
I certainly think that Baker will be playing against Arsenal in a week’s time, the question is. Who will partner him? Vlaar played today and I appears as though Vlaar will get the nod for the Arsenal game. But as Okore catches up on match fitness, it may not be too long before we see a defensive partnership that (may) last for the next couple of years. Baker and Okore