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Villa Better In Defence This Season Or Last?

Villa Better In Defence This Season Or Last?

Which back line is better?

Last season our first choice defensive unit was Mellberg RB, Bouma LB, Laursen and Davies in the middle with Carson between the sticks.

Personally I think that was a strong defensive line up let down by a poor and uncommanding keeper whose actual shop stopping was at best, less than average.

This season we are likely to have Young RB, Shorey LB, Laursen and Davies in the middle with Friedel in goal. Is it any better? Well imho opinion, yes and no.

Defensively I think it is weaker down the flanks. Shorey and Young are not the quickest but both have the ability to get forward better than Olof and Freddy. Shorey especially is a corner kick specialist and will undoubtedly provide many assists. Laursen and Davies, if they remain injury free have the potential to be one of the best centre back pairings in the league. Not as good defensively as say Ferdinand and Vidic but much more of a threat in the opponents box.

What will make the biggest difference is having a keeper who is not only commanding but also an excellent shop stopper. If Friedel remains injury free, he will be the one who will make the difference. I think teams will have more joy down the flanks against Young and Shorey than against Olof and Freddy, but this will be more than compensated for by having three, big strong men commanding the centre and in goal.

If I was a betting man, I would put money on our goals against column coming down by about 15 to 20 compared to last season. It will be hard to score as many but overall we will be better off.

What will be an influence will be games. Rangers played 19 European matches in getting to the final last year. We still need a right midfielder SWP or Milner please), cover for Carew (with battering he takes for the team, there is no chance of getting 50+ games from him) and an extra centre half as a bare minimum. Now is the time to invest in two young full backs who are happy to learn their trade as part of the squad, but who will be busting a gut to prove themselves when Shorey or Young are injured or suspended.

This is where a good scouting network would have done the job.


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Friday August 8 2008
Time: 11:00AM


Dont agree, think it is much better. Friedel as you say is the biggest improvement. But Young and Shorey are better than Mellberg (as much as i love the guy) and Bouma (as much as others love the guy). I think Bouma may struggle to get back in the team when he returns to fitness, reckon Shorey could be a superb signing.
08/08/2008 09:26:00
Far better this season I think. Shorey and Young are two good buys. I just hope that Laursen and Davies can stay fit. If we have luck with injuries at the back and with Friedel in goal I think we will concede far fewer goals this season. Be nice to have a few clean sheets, got sick of our always seeming to concede a goal in the 89th minute last season.
08/08/2008 09:29:00
In fairness we didn't let many shots at our keeper last season , it was just that every shot the oposition had seemed to go past Carson. Friedel will make a huge difference ! Defensively we will be better balance , attack wise not sure about defensively, time will tell
08/08/2008 09:44:00
If as you suggest Shorey and Young aren't as good defensively as bouma and mellberg, then i'd suggest we are in big trouble this season. We were a counter attacking team which often left us wide open at the back for return counter attacks. Whilst we were good going forwards we weren't good defensively. I think Friedel will be the world of difference, and I hope you're wrong about our new full backs as i feel they will offer the shoring up our defense has needed for some time. Build from the back as they say.
08/08/2008 11:09:00
I think we are much better look at any of the players in our back line (excluding knight) and friedel in the sticks and one word comes to mind for me SOLID. We let in a lot of goals last season, with players playing in actual positions instead of having 4 CB and a dodgy keeper we will concede far less guaranteed.
08/08/2008 11:11:00
Great article mate. I agree about the young full backs, and also the RM/CF thing.
08/08/2008 11:32:00
Last year we had a hell of a big back four, with Mellberg and Freddie covering when balls were pumped into the box. Can't see it happening as much this year. Laursen and Davies may find themselves a bit more exposed. Lost count of the times last year when Olof went inside from full back at set pieces. He'll be the biggest miss even though he was crap going forward.
08/08/2008 11:40:00
It is unarguably stronger - Friedel will boss the backline, and lets face it, Melly was awful going forward - his long passing and crossing just wasn't there!
08/08/2008 11:41:00
We know Mellberg was a CB but Bouma would be better off as a CB or played on the left of a 3 man defence.A RB and a LB need plenty of pace and the ability to get foward,these attributes were not what Melly and Bouma were naturally strong in.Very good tacklers and readers of the game though.
08/08/2008 11:41:00
the switch in keepers is a no brainer, and a proper right back in place of melly, is also a better option, and even though it's hard to say, i think shorey will be a better all round left back.
08/08/2008 11:42:00
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