Following Aston Villa and Liverpool's 2-2 draw at Anfield on Saturday evening, the majority of stories will be about Luis Suarez's impact on the match. But this article has nothing to do with that. I want to focus solely on the performance of Villa's players, and specifically that of Ron Vlaar.
The 28-year-old Dutch centre-back was immense yesterday, as he so often is. A quick glance at his statistics shows he won four tackles, made one interception, won for duels against opponents and made five effective clearances. But more than that, he led an impressive defensive unit who all performed admirably.
|Player||Won Tackle||Interception Won||Duel Won||Effective Clearance||Accurate Pass|
When you compare his performance with that of his fellow defenders, you can see it was a team-effort, a collective marshaled by Vlaar and giving hope for the second half of the Villans' season.
On-loan Ryan Bertrand slotted straight in, and if Paul Lambert can keep a solid defence for the remainder of the campaign, he should be looking up rather than down between now and May.
|Player||Won Tackle||Interception Won||Duel Won||Effective Clearance||Accurate Pass||Mins|
Following the match, we took to Twitter to see what the fans thought of Vlaar's performance, and the verdict was unanimous. You can read a selection of them below:
Ron Vlaar has been sensational. Player of the season for me— Yaliebops (@yaliekins) January 18, 2014
Gabby coming off took away our edge, but Vlaar defo man of the match! Kept Suarez quiet apart from 1 dive. Clark also excellent— AVFC Richard (@AVFCRichard) January 18, 2014
I hope Ron Vlaar never gets injured again. Nice to be able to use more positive words than "shambles" to describe Villa's defence #avfc— James March (@jamesmarch85) January 18, 2014
Ron Vlaar was immense today.The only reason he didnt get man of the match was because he was slightly weighed down with suarez in his pocket— Niloo (@Sriv_22) January 18, 2014
Heard Luis Suarez will be going home on the Villa coach tonight..in Ron Vlaar's back pocket— Stuey Squires (@StueySquires) January 18, 2014
Thought Vlaar was absolutely outstanding. He has improved so much…He’s a top CB. #avfc— Toby Holcroft (@tobyholcroft) January 18, 2014
I'll take that point! Vlaar was unreal all game #villa— Martin O'Connor (@Marty__8) January 18, 2014
image: © ell brown