Just when things started to look cohesive for the Aston Villa defense, reinvigorated centre-back Tommy Elphick suffered a serious foot injury. This comes on the heels of starting RB Alan Hutton’s knee injury, leaving the Villa back line objectively bereft of any depth.
Dean Smith and Aston Villa will have some serious defensive questions to address coming into Sunday’s tremendously important match away at Birmingham City. As reported by Matt Maher from the Express and Star, Tommy Elphick is expected to miss 6 weeks with a serious foot injury.
This news, coupled with the injuries to Alan Hutton, James Chester, and Axel Tuanzebe leave Villa with four (actual) defenders left on the roster. Those being Neil Taylor, Kortney Hause, Tyrone Mings, and Ahmed Elmohamady. That will almost undoubtedly be the starting back four in the second city derby. Now, the question that remains is who will be on the bench to cover in the event that one of these players pick up a knock?
In a pinch, Mile Jedinak (I know, I know) could serve as a makeshift CB, and Dean Smith could be keen to give U-23 Easah Suliman a call up in order to stock the reserves with a real centre-back. I believe that having those two available should see all the coverage necessary, as Hause could shift back out wide in the event that Taylor or Elmo need to be subbed off for any reason. Realistically, if Suliman was to train with the first team all week and looked ready, it might be in the team’s best interest to start him at CB with Mings, and leave Hause at LB (where he’s really shined recently). This would send Neil Taylor back to the bench.
At this rate, the team might need John Terry and Dean Smith to lace the boots back up. Let’s pray it doesn’t go that far, although I know a few supporters that would prefer that to the alternative: