Jores Okore was signed last season by Paul Lambert and endured a very difficult first season, missing all but three games due to a lengthy anterior cruciate ligament injury. He was rumoured to be looking for a new club in November following an alleged falling out with the manager. How catastrophic it could have been to lose a player with as much potential as Okore. Thankfully, due to injuries to Vlaar and Senderos, he has been a regular starter in recent months and now looks to be the most solid defender at the club.
The player who has surprised me the most this season has been Ciaran Clark: he has gone from being an inconsistent cover player to a player I would be happy to see captain the team at Arsenal on Sunday if he weren’t injured. He has formed a solid partnership with Okore at the back and the Villans have benefitted from that pairing.
It is evident that we are much more solid at the back and that is partly down to the experience of Aly Cissokho and Alan Hutton in the full back positions. They have been brilliant and I can’t see anyone better than either player at right back and left back respectively in our squad. The youth of Clark, Okore and Baker has been refreshing too and they have really stepped up to the plate, showing their potential and dealing with situations in games as professionally as anyone else would.
It is true that goals win you games. I believe we will start to find the back of the net on a more regular basis in the coming month or so, thanks to the signings of Carles Gil and Scott Sinclair, filling the attacking midfielder position that we have been crying out for. Add to that the possible return of Libor Kozak in a few weeks’ time and we have a decent forward line. However, you have to build from the back in the Premier League and there is no way we would be out of the relegation zone if it weren’t for our defensive record this season.