Ron Vlaar joined Aston Villa last season and with the task of being Aston Villa’s main defender, that player that organised the back line and was a team leader. Last season he was definitely a team leader, but his performances and defensive ability was often questioned. This season however, Vlaar is a completely changed man and it has shown in Aston Villa’s most recent performances. Last season Villa only managed to get two clean sheets, this season Villa have managed 5 clean sheets. Baker and Clark are also responsible for improvement but Vlaar has simply stood out this season.
What I like about Vlaar is that he is an all-around good defender. He’s very good at reading the game, making vital interceptions and clearances. Vlaar’s only weakness is pace, but with Bacuna next to him, it hasn’t really been a problem this season. Vlaar has also managed to maintain excellent communication with Guzan and more importantly, the communication between either Clark or Baker is absolutely superb.
Up until Southampton, Vlaar has played in every single Aston Villa game this season, and has played every minute of those games. In fact, when Vlaar did eventually get substituted off through injury Aston Villa conceded two goals in one halve! Had Vlaar avoided the calf injury and stayed on the pitch Jay Rodriguez would’ve never got his head on the ball and it would’ve been unlikely that Osvaldo would’ve scored from close range.
Last season Vlaar picked up an injury roughly at the same period of time last season and Aston Villa simply feel apart. Baker and Clark have improved but are they team leaders? Well we ought to find out because it’s unlikely that Vlaar will be risked against Fulham this weekend. I just wanted to acknowledge Vlaar’s impact so far this season and I reckon he’ll be a major loss against Fulham.