Villa have struggled at the back all season, conceding the joint highest goals (with Norwich – 60) of all Premier League teams to date.
Villa’s issues have been compounded by questionable defending, but matters haven’t been helped at all by our inability to maintain a settled back four through injury.
Bjorn Engels looks capable of forming a meaningful partnership with Tyrone Mings. The Belgian remains plagued by an achilles problem and remains out of contention for the trip to Anfield this weekend.
Matt Targett, a hefty £11.5m signing from Southampton, has recurring hamstring complaints. The full-back is now out for the third time this season having been withdrawn in the opening stages of the Wolves defeat at Villa Park last weekend. Targett is expected to be about for at least 3 weeks.
Villa’s problems also extend to right back…
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Guilbert hasn’t featured since the Premier League resumed and whilst Esri Konsa has deputised, Villa look decidedly vulnerable at right back.
The Frenchman, who also offers us more threat going forward, has been sidelined with a persistent knee problem.
In more promising news and after a couple of false starts, Guilbert has now completed a full week of training.
Whilst his return is welcomed, it remains to be seen whether he can hit the ground running after such an extended period without competitive game time.
A similar premature hope spread across the club following John McGinn’s recent return from injury, only to be dampened after a series of muted performances as the Scottish international struggled with match fitness.
Last month Guilbert spoke frankly about struggling, like many, with the impacts of lockdown life.
The 25 year old was restricted due to his knee injury in terms of how much exercise he could do. Additionally, having stopped English lessons for 3 months, admitted to trying to speak the native language but continuing to struggle.
I have a specific programme because I have pain on my knee.
I try to speak English but my English is not very good.
Now it’s three months I haven’t had an English lesson.
It’s difficult. I stay at home. I have a gym in my home. Every day I run and I do gym.
It’s not the same, we don’t touch the ball or see our friends.
Guilbert is expected to feature in some form this Sunday as Villa face off against newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool.
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