Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)
With the harrowing news that John Terry is off of his feet and out of the Aston Villa starting eleven, Villa supporters are deservedly a little on edge for the foreseeable future.
Can you blame them?
Aston Villa Captain John Terry has played every game for Villa in league play this year.
He also carries a superb 84.62% pass success rate on 661 total passes.
And a 123 clearances.
With the Villa defensive rock on the mend for six to eight weeks with a broken metatarsal, these are just some of the justified reasons for Villa fans to all of the sudden break down into panic mode. And we’re not talking about any panic mode. There are talks among Villa supporters about the upcoming transfer window being one where we should try to add depth, rather than in previous years when supporters wanted a big signing. We are also seeing a lot of people calling to buy centre-backs and even some defensive midfielders to fill the massive hole left my Terry’s absence.
No matter what opinions we have, what is Steve Bruce most likely to do? That should be the question on the supporters minds.
Looking back on the managerial acumen of Steve Bruce, he’s going to continue on with the depth chart by his own valuation of the squad. No, we shouldn’t think for a second that Micah Richards magically turns back the years and carries the load for Villa defensively. With Richards’ lack of fitness and endless string of injury problems the minute he seems to be having a breakthrough, there are much better options for Villa. It would not be a shock to see Bruce try to employ a ‘carry on by committee’ approach to this problem that has so harshly landed on his shoulders.
I think there is something to be said about James Chester in times like these. There are a ton of people forgetting that James Chester lauded Mile Jedinak not even a week ago, claiming the bearded Villan was an absolute joy to play with and he felt a level of safety and steadiness with Jedinak on the pitch. Seeming that Terry is now on the mend, employing Jedinak next to Chester seems like the very obvious move as far as player chemistry and trust.
Trust is a big ordeal with footballers, although not discussed at length. It may seem that you can throw a different mix of players together and you can still expect results, but that is not always the case. There has to be a level of trust, respect and communication. John Terry has become quite vocal on the pitch for Villa, after being a clam of sorts through the early days of this campaign. Villa need a voice on the pitch. One could argue that Robert Snodgrass has taken that role for the more offensive minded players, but as far a defence goes, we have seen Jedinak play that role for the club as beautifully as a concert orchestra.
Although Mile is just coming back from a niggling injury in his own right, it would not seem so drab to instil Jedinak next to James Chester. Will Jedinak be able to play there? Well, he has in the past. Quite decently as well. Obviously he will not play to the world class standard of John Terry, that’s for certain. Will Jedinak be able to play a full 90 minutes for the next ten games? Probably not. As previously mentioned, this problem isn’t just going to go away with one man being the answer. To win in the Championship, it takes a village. If Mile Jedinak can play at centre-back for even 75 or so minutes a game, then be subbed off, then so be it.
Even after a strange game against Sheffield Wednesday, Chris Samba seems to be the ‘next man up’ for Steve Bruce. It is worth a bet that Chris Samba isn’t even in the same room as Mile Jedinak in terms of overall stamina. The bearded Australian has proven that he has the lungs and the strength to make up for his lack of legs and flair. And although he is not everyone’s cup of tea, Glenn Whelan will continue to protect the back-line of Villa in every way he can, probably even more so with this problem at the back. Again, Whelan and Jedinak do not the possess the most flair on the pitch for Villa, but definitely the most grit and determination. And let’s not forget about Tommy Elphick, even though he seems to be very, very low on the totem pole in the mind of Steve Bruce. He may get his shot at redemption, even if it is against a club that may be struggling or on the wrong side of the table. That may be what Elphick needs to solidify himself as a proper depth player at Aston Villa, along with the true support of the Aston Villa faithful.
With the Captain on the mend, a lot of questions abound and lot of decisions to be had in the month of December and January, it is getting quite interesting in the world of Aston Villa. Let’s hope that Steve Bruce diagnoses this problem with the hands of a surgeon and Villa keeps up their more positive form in the Championship.