Options in defence


Now the transfer window is shut, the squad in confirmed and we can look at our options.

We currently have: Richards, Lescott, Clark, Okore, Ilori, Amavi, Crespo, Hutton, Bacuna and Richardson.

My initial feeling is that Kieran Richardson seems to be heavily out of favour and, providing there are minimal injuries, will not play much football this year.

Crespo and Okore are certainly not in contention for the time being as they recover from injuries.

That leaves the remaining seven players all competing for four or maybe five spots.

Going on form and what Sherwood has being saying, Richards and Amavi are certainties.

That leaves one or maybe two centre back spots up for grabs and the right back slot.

Currently, Sherwood is using a back four and Clark and Bacuna have been playing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hutton play at right back against some of the bigger teams and there is no doubt that he is a more effective defender than Bacuna. Against the teams we really should be getting something from, I think Sherwood, as exhibited by his team choices so far, will go for Bacuna, who provides threat from crossing positions and gets forward very well.

Both Richards and Ilori can play right back so there is that option too. If Sherwood fancies a conservative and solid back line it may be that he plays one of these two at right back to really try and shore up the defense, although this is unlikely.

Ilori’s inexperience suggests he may be behind Clark and Lescott in the pecking order for that other centre back spot.

My initial feeling is to go with Lescott. His big game experience and understanding with Richards could prove vital. While Clark has not started the season badly, it is painfully obvious when he plays that he has a mistake in him and it’s unsettling.

The other option is to go with three centre backs, Richards and two of Lescott, Clark and Ilori with Bacuna and Amavi as attacking wingbacks.

On Sunday, we will be playing Leicester City, a team that works so effectively with that method. It will be interesting to see the formation and players Sherwood opts for.

Regardless of the team he picks, it’s great to see so much competition for places. It’s a great problem to have particularly in the context of recent years when we have been seriously struggling with injuries.

Whatever team he puts out on Sunday, let’s hope the players have had a chance to gel and can carve out a result against a Leicester City that’s side in form.


  1. Personally I can see Ilorri being the defensive RB when the need arises, and possibly even first choice RB, and Hutton being sent out on loan or maybe sold in January.

    I think it’s a bit harsh saying Clark always looks like he has a mistake in him when IMO exactly the same can be said of Lescott. He’s a decent squad player but he’s never filled me with any sort of confidence even when surrounded by far better players than we have at Citeh.

    I hope I never see 3 CBs inflicted on the Villa team again, it’s proven time and again to be a disaster waiting to happen for every team that has played that formation.

  2. I think Okore, when fit, should also be considered as a full back option, he is quick, athletic and comfortable on the ball. He was predominantly a full back before he came to Villa too. Since he might not get a lot of game time at centre half so long as Richards, Lescott and Clark are available, I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Tim to try him at right back, I couldn’t see him being any worse than Hutton or Bacuna.


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