The pursuit of clean sheets

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It was December 8th 2012 when Stoke City came to Villa Park and played out a fairly dull 0-0 stalemate. So many must be wondering why I am reminiscing about a goalless draw? Well that particular afternoon marked the last time Aston Villa kept a clean sheet.

I have heard Villa fans say Ron Jeremy has cleaner sheets than the Villans, and although that is highly amusing, at what point does the chuckling stop? For me the distant echoing of alarm bells have slowly started to creep into the Villa eardrum . Yes people say preseason games mainly serve as a fitness exercise, but in our first four contests, we have failed to keep a clean sheet. We have hardly been playing top notch sides if your honest about it. League two Wycombe stuck a couple past us.

Paul Lambert will hope the acquisition of Jores Okore will help stem the flow of goals conceded, but my worry is the mentality of the team. There seems to be an inevitability of Villa conceding a goal every game. This sense has filtered through to the stands, and was no more apparent than when we were shocked by Bradford in the League Cup semi final. We trailed 3-1 from the first leg, yet most fans knew it was actually 4-1 as Villa would 100% concede a goal at home to a league two side.  We actually expected to concede at home to Bradford?

I’m not sure where the blame lies, but surely these friendlies should be used to gel our first choice defence for the coming season, and a clean sheet has to be a major goal for the team. With Arsenal and Liverpool waiting in the wings, this mental problem has to be eradicated. The pursuit moves to Kenilworth Road this Tuesday. If we can’t keep a shutout against a conference team then Walcott, Aspas and co will be licking their lips to play us come August.

 

The Independent

I shall be starting work experience at The Independent next Monday. If I hear any Villa news you can be sure I will report it for you guys. Utv

4 COMMENTS

  1. Whilst I have a slight tendency to agree with your position on the defence in the first part of last season Man Utd were conceding goals for fun but remained at the top of the table as they scored more than they conceded, there is a distinct possibility that with the attacking options we have now that we could win more than we lose. Whilst I dont think for a minute we are ready to emulate the Sky Super 6 I think we will cause other teams a lot more problems this season

  2. I agree with your point, however Guzan has kept 3 clean sheets in the 4 games. In Germany we conceded all the goals with Steer, apart from the 2 against Wycombe. Thats the only positive for me.

  3. Agreed… Not keeping a clean sheet is worrying. A couple of reasons spring to mind.
    1. Throughout Paul Lambert’s reign we have rarely add a settle backline. Ron Vlaar was not only new tonthe league last season but he had rookie defenders around him. Hopefully, the backline will be more settled next season with the arrival of Okore and the emergence of a more experienced Nathan Baker. Moreover, concrete Ron can concentrate on his own game a little more. Stability at the back is key for me.

    2. We have lacked avreal Defence Midfielder in recent times. An experienced DM will take some pressure off the defence. Sylla showed signs of promise but I feel that we are a bit short in that area.

    I’m sure things will improve next year…lets face it, they have to!

  4. Clean sheets will come as the team gets better you only have to look at the season where we got to the Carling Cup final we had the second best defensive record in the league . I believe if Vlaar can build a partnership with Okore clean sheets will soon follow . Lowton will play for England one day so he will develop further and then I’m unsure on who should be left back with Luna,Bennett,Baker,Clark and,Stevens all capable of playing left back.

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