Villa’s exit from the Carabao Cup to Stoke City (0-1) was a disappointing result as much for the performance as the result. Picking up an injury only serves to compound matters.
Kortney Hause broke down and was replaced by Ezri Konsa on 58 minutes against The Potters, to give Smith a headache when it comes to defensive cover.Embed from Getty Images
It appeared that Hause had suffered a groin injury whilst receiving treatment, but the full extent will become clearer soon.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
The centre half position was one of the areas highlighted by The Villa Underground in a recent Podcast as a position where we lack strength in depth.
With much of the responsibility falling to England international Tyrone Mings last term, the progressive development of Konsa as his defensive partner perhaps served to mask Villa’s needs in this position.
There was a recent scare too, as Konsa himself picked up a knock during the victory over Sheffield United (0-1), before ultimately playing on and scoring the match winner.
Ordinarily one might consider Bjorn Engels as the other option. The Belgian was originally Smith’s first choice centre-half pairing for Mings, but recurring long term injury has blighted his short Villa career.
As if to illustrate the point, the 26 year old is only just back in training following a recent thigh strain. A return had been mooted for the EFL Cup game against Stoke, but once again Engel’s didn’t feature.
Beyond that, the centre-back cover looks extremely limited, with Ahmed Elmohamady getting competitive game-time in the role. Evidently it wouldn’t take much for the experienced Egyptian international to be called upon to deputise.
Whilst Dean Smith’s substantive business in the transfer window appears to be complete, should the right player becomes available, if only on loan, we should seize the chance to strengthen.
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