Over the past few seasons, our defence has been appalling, which is a far cry from when the Villans had a reputation for a solid back line and ‘Fortress Villa Park’ was a frequently used phrase.
We have had a huge upheaval of the squad this season and our new left back, Jordan Amavi, could be one of the best buys of the summer. Micah Richards has also been an astute signing on a free transfer: at times, he has been slightly rash in tackles but, given time, I believe he will be a great leader throughout the season.
However, three of the back five from last season still remain in the starting XI and this is a concern if purchases aren’t made before the transfer window closes. Ciaran Clark, Leandro Bacuna and Brad Guzan have been part of our dreadful defence over the last few seasons and whilst Clark in particular has improved it is surprising that there hasn’t been more changes made to the defence over the past few months.
Leandro Bacuna is good attacking player but he isn’t a right back and will never be a traditional defender. Taking into account that Sherwood approaches games with a more attacking mindset, it is important that all of our defenders can hold their own against the Premier League’s best. Sherwood has rewarded Bacuna with a new contract and there is a place for him in the squad but he struggled against A.F.C. Bournemouth and Crystal Palace so he shouldn’t be our first choice right back.
Brad Guzan was poor by his standards last season and Sherwood has reportedly been actively looking for a goalkeeper over the summer. Guzan has been a good servant to the club since he re-signed but, due to him picking the ball our of his net consistently during the Lamber era, to me, he is a reminder of the darker times. He is a good shot stopper but his distribution and command of his area are poor.
With Sherwood apparently chasing Joelon Lescott from West Bromwich Albion, he obviously feels that an experienced head is needed to slot in next to Micah Richards. There is an inevitable feeling that he will sign just before the window closes so all we need now is a goalkeeper and a right back to finish off a new look back line.