With preparations for the new Premier League season underway, Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has an important decision ahead of him in relation to his starting line-up.
Following the signing of Diego Carlos earlier this summer, competition in defence has ramped up as Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, Calum Chambers and Kortney Hause face a battle to earn a place in the XI.
Carlos will have to prove himself too and convince Gerrard that he has successfully adapted to English football and can be reliable and formidable presence, and so it sets the stage for an interesting scrap over who lands the two centre-half spots in the Villa side.
Taking last season into consideration, it’s likely that Hause will face the more difficult task of forcing his way up the pecking order and into contention, particularly as he continues to recover from knee surgery he underwent last week.
So with Carlos, Konsa, Mings and Chambers at Gerrard’s disposal, who gets the nod?
Carlos-Konsa could be the ideal Villa defensive partnership
Take nothing away from either Chambers or Mings, but there is a real sense that Carlos and Konsa could form a solid defensive line and have the technical ability to play out from the back to be influential in both phases of the game in and out of possession.
Chambers was excellent when involved last year in his first season at the club, and Mings was a real presence in the backline and put in some top performances to make a strong case to remain a key figure in the side.
Both will have the opportunity to stake their claim again, and should either, or both, establish themselves in the Villa XI and help us to win games consistently, there will be no argument over their place in the side.
That said, with Carlos being aggressive and physical as well as strong in the air, combined with Konsa’s ability to cover and showcase a more composed and classy style of defence by sitting back and cutting out danger, they could complement each other well in that regard.
Further, both are more than adept at playing the ball forward with accurate passes into midfield and beyond, and with that being a key aspect of the style of football that Gerrard wants to develop at Villa, they could tick that box for him too.
It could be argued that they aren’t as strong in the air as Mings, while the Villa captain has experience, leadership and a fully-committed style that makes him a strong contender to keep his place.
He’ll have the chance to prove that he deserves to stay in the XI with Konsa working his way back from his own injury setback, and so time will tell if Mings and Carlos emerge as the first-choice pairing, or if they leave doubt in Gerrard’s mind over the first few weeks of the campaign to open the door for Konsa and Chambers to displace them.
Just from what we get to see of it, Ezri Konsa's been hard at work on his rehab over the break. For me, the Carlos-Konsa partnership has the potential of being our best pairing, hoping to see him back on/before schedule 👊🏽🟣🔵#avfc #UTV pic.twitter.com/j5jci1F6PH
— Talk Villa (@thetalkvilla) July 4, 2022