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AVFC... Leftism?

AVFC... Leftism?


In recent games one factor has become apparent. Opposition analysts, having poured over Villa's numbers are clearly telling their managers that they need to target the left side of our defence. With a narrow midfield and inexperienced left backs in Stevens and Bennett, visiting clubs must feel like the seas have parted.

Enda Stevens has shown surprising potential and has put in some notable appearances. Some of his performance in November, prior to his injury, were recognised for their quality and composure. Indeed, it would be fair to say that those performances surprised quite a few detractors, who had seen his acquisition as no more than an affordable, low risk punt. However, since his return from injury that slowly developing game has come undone, most noticeable in our last Premier League home game against Southampton. Stevens' positional sense seemed to be still on the treatment table, leaving oceans of space in behind him. His inexperience was there in abundance in both the timing and the tackle.

Joe Bennett has not fared much better since returning to the first team. Another low cost buy, all be it one with obvious potential, Bennett has struggled to adapt. He has obvious athletic quality, speed,acceleration, a solid positional sense and energy levels suited to a left back though his timing, tackling and lack of composure have left us highly susceptible on the counter. Further, his poor decision making has led us conceding numerous sloppy free kicks and at times, penalty claims.

Undoubtedly, they are both young, promising players though as I have written before, the Premier League is no proving ground. A player must bring a solid adaptable game into the game and then that game might then grow with experience and confidence. A player who brings a weak game in at this level is going to end up in trouble: his team with him.

Left-back is a highly demanding position. It is an energy sapping, lung bursting role, that involves speed, power, acceleration, timing, positional sense and physicality as one moves elastically from defensive cover to over lapping runs and flank support down to the opposition by line. With the wash of right midfield and right wing talent on show in the Premier League an experienced and solid left back is a necessity yet talented left footed fullbacks are extremely hard to find.

Perhaps it is time for Stephen Warnock to be given another shot then. Warnock's game went to bits under McLeish. The psychological pressure and negative toxicity of Villa Park seemed to weigh down on him and his confidence, turning the former England International into a calamity in boots. Certainly, his leadership and fight was there to see as he moved to bolster central midfield though he won't be remembered for his left back run outs that season. However, he has been steadily rebuilding his game at Bolton and has been putting in the performance to match. Bolton want to keep him. I believe we should no and bring him back into the first team. He should be allowed the opportunity to prove himself again, perhaps helping Stevens and Bennett out in the process. Either way, we must address our weakest point on the pitch.

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Date:Friday January 18 2013
Time: 10:20AM


Difficult to disagree with this really - unless we buy a new 'un (third time lucky). Or theres the blonde Italiano we employed, he 's a defender isnt he ? Do we have his registration ??
18/01/2013 11:33:00
yup, difficult spot at moment, I'd have used Warnock just to see, a good manager tries players before dropping them, he did well under MON afterall.
The Fear
18/01/2013 12:16:00
Not too sure why Warnock has been frozen out to be honest, ok he had a poor season last year but who defensively didn't ! He was in the England squad not too long back and any professional can have one bad season. We need someone to put a tough tackle in now and again to remind the opposition we mean business and I think he is the man for the job. Surely he can't be any worse than what we have ??
18/01/2013 13:54:00
Must agree with you,we need all the help we can get at the moment,i also don't think he did a bad job when he was moved forwards,at least it gives you more options with a player who ca play in other positions.
18/01/2013 14:56:00
Derrick Williams is bigger,quicker,stronger,better in the air and in the tackle than any of the above mentioned.Give him a chance.
18/01/2013 16:07:00
I have to agree, why go back - Derrick Williams for with Stevens as back up
18/01/2013 16:48:00
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