Date: 2nd December 2010 at 1:39pm
Written by:

Richard Dunne Under The Spotlight by astvil123

Richard Dunne joined Villa towards the start of last year and slotted in well into a backline including James Collins, Stephen Warnock and Carlos Cuellar.

After a run of games since joining Villa, Dunne said the backline ‘seems to have worked reasonably well’. (Quotes taken from Dunne’s Wikipedia page) But now we are playing a different style of football and instead of being very solid at the back we have had to open up our defense in order to get Luke Young and Stephen Warnock attacking down the wings. It has tested the partnership of Collins and Dunne to the maximum and so far this season they have showed that they can’t play together in this style of football.

For Birmingham’s penalty last night Dunne jumped up to head back a ball launched into the Villa half but didn’t connect right and the ball dropped between Jerome and Collins, but the spin of the ball made it difficult for Collins to head clear because there was no pace on the awkwardly bouncing ball and Jerome created the situation in which resulted in Birmingham awarded a penalty. But this could have been avoided if Dunne connected properly with the ball like he tried to do.

When you also think that the so called ‘Set-Piece Kings’ have conceded from 10 set pieces so far this season it really is alarming to how many soft goals we are conceding. Going forward we are great, we have out-played the likes of Birmingham, Manchester United, Wolves, Blackpool, Fulham and Sunderland. But from those games that we have dominated we have conceded a total of 9 goals from 6 games where we have played better than the opposition. We have no injuries in defense stopping Houllier playing his first choice back line so something is wrong and it looks like it might just be Richard Dunne. Richard is now 31 years old and so far he has had to deal with the following players this season: Nikola Zigic, Cameron Jerome, Andy Carroll, Marlon Harewood, Marouane Chamakh, Jason Roberts, Kenwyne Jones, Federico Macheda, etc

The point being out of all of the people Richard Dunne has had to mark this season, so far he has not successfully stopped one striker playing that he has been watching despite the majority not being exactly the best strikers the Premier League has. Every game he has made error after error and cost us games. E.g. The own goal at Sunderland, the poor clearance against Birmingham and then giving away the penalty, the poor organisation from from set-plays. However when Richard Dunne hasn’t played this season we have won away at Wolves 2-1. Also with Dunne going off early against Chelsea Ciaran Clark came on as his replacement for the remaining 75 minutes and we drew 0-0 at home with the Champions! Last season he was our rock, but not this year.

I don’t know if he is distracted by something, getting too old or just quite simply can’t adjust to this new style of play but it seems Dunne isn’t the way forward now and needs to be dropped. He keeps trying long range passes and keeping the ball moving and always looking for a pass because Houllier has told him to do so, but he can’t do it well. Dunne is not quickest of players and now we are playing a passing game higher up the pitch it is much easier for teams to counter us through the middle because Dunne is not quick enough to get back. I just want the finish by saying I am not blaming Richard Dunne alone for the poor results we are having but I am pointing out that he is a major weak link in our team at the moment. Playing Cuellar, Clark, Lowry or Baker at the back with Collins would make more sense, just to try it at Anfield would be great to see because I really think playing this style of football and having Dunne out of the team will mean us conceding less goals because teams will have less time on the ball and less space to use.