Date: 28th March 2007 at 12:34pm
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According to Martin O’Neill, central defender Martin Laursen ‘is back’

The Danish international picked up a hamstring injury after his return from knee problems but has recovered quickly.

Martin O’Neill told the official site: ‘He trained yesterday and on Monday, so he’s back. We stepped-up the training yesterday and he wouldn’t be out there with us if he couldn’t do most things. We’ve got the full week here and that will help him enormously. So, if he’s had no reaction to the hamstring injury, I would expect him to be in contention for next Monday.’

Be interesting to see if Laursen gets straight back into the team. It would be VERY hard on Gary Cahill to be dropped, he has been outstanding. Maybe Olof Mellberg should move to right back and have Laursen and Cahill in the centre? Jeez, this management lark is easy!

Our latest poll asks who you’d play in defence assuming Wilfred Bouma as the only left-back option if fit as Jlloyd Samuel hasn’t had a look in.


34 Replies to “Which Defender Gets Dropped?”

  • Olof to right full back maybe, allowing us to play Martin Laursen and Gary Cahill as our central defensive pairing.

  • Mellberg did well at right back during the early part of the season (notably WHU (a)), Laursen and Ridge looked comfortable in the centre. Ridge for me, concedes too many needless free kicks (levering off strikers when a good 40 yards up field), and Cahill has matured over the past 8 months somewhat. However, a pacey attack would cause havoc at the back for Villa if the defensive pairing was Laursen with Ridge/Cahill. Worth a try would be a back 3 (it work for Big Ron and Brian Little!)? This would also encourage Bardsley to get forward which he doesn’t do often enough….

  • I have been a big fan of the mighty Olof for years, but I have to say from what I have seeen this season Laursen is our best central defender on the rare occasions he is fit and Cahill has been outstanding recently, his ball distribution being superior to Ollie’s by a long way. So, assuming all our defenders are fit, Laursen and Cahill for me, with Bardsley and Bouma continuing as full backs.

  • Yep! I’d go with Olof on the right. Bouma on the left. Then Cahill and Ridgewell in the Middle. Stick Laursen on the bench, after all ? you can’t expect to just walk into the team, people are saying how class he is, and I think it’s been so long since we have seen him as a regular everyone remembers him being better than he was.

    I would have liked the Bardsley that we had for first few games to come back. Truth is he is making a few mistakes and running alongside people rather than tackling. Maybe he has been spending too much time with Jloyd??

  • I’m all for laursen in the middle with one of the youngsters ridge or gary. mellberg to right back bouma left back.

  • Mellberg is and ordinary right back that doesn’t get forward. I just want to know why Ridgewell has fallen out of favour. He was our best defender up until he was dropped. Personally, I would rest Cahill and give the Ridge a go and maybe Laursen/Melberg alongside him. Definately need someone with a voice in the centre of defence.

  • I would play Hughes over Bardsley, and Melberg at right back. Melberg was a shocking right back i thought, really poor distribution and poor going forward. Laursen is really quick, Bazzah, well he was before he got injured, unless that has changed, which i doubt it would have, i don’t think there would be a problem with his pace. He’s also our best defender so i would bring him in, if not for the next game then fairly soon (i think it would be diffacult to drop Cahill or Melberg after their recent performances). But if Cahill can start to consistantly play as good as he has been, especially against the better teams, i would leave him in. Bouma i think has been our best player of late, and is one of the few certain starters, in my opinion.

  • I thight ridgewell was quite good this season too. He does give away a few freekicks though. which is probably not the best considering our record at set pieces.

  • A couple of points. What a disgraceful headline!!! Which defender gets dropped?????? Typical of the negative attitudes that are obviously still hanging around from the Ellis years. I could have understood the question if it had read ‘will youth or experience serve Villa better for the remaining games of the season’? All that M’ON has said is that Laursen is in contention for Monday. I think the ‘Mellberg for right back’ needs knocking on the head immediately. His distribution is poor, he can’t cross and his awareness in that position is terrible (excusably so because he is not a full back). I am not sure that Bardsley is better than Hughes though. As we have four players for the two central positions we are going to get several variations for each individual fans preferences. Attempting to fit three of them in at the expense of a loan player, would only weaken the team and would be an obvious fudge of the real issues. I personally would go with Cahill/Mellberg. Since they came together during the Fulham game they have only conceded 1 goal (the fluke against the Arse). So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However I am not sure the long term is bright with this pairing. Mainly due to Mellbergs distribution and lack of ability in picking up strikers in the box. As a slight contradiction, I think that Laursen is the most dominant of the four centre halfs available. He must be eased back though and not thrown straight into action, otherwise we will probably lose him for the rest of the season. So when we go 4 – 0 up on Monday I would bring on Laursen for Mellberg to ease him back in and let Mellberg know he is not an automatic choice.

  • Sod of Holte!!! The title is nothing to do wtih Ellis, negativity or anything else. One defender will have to make way for Laursen or Laursen will have to remain on the bench. Just simple maths. And your title wouldn’t fit the designs of the sites, they have to be sharp and snappy! I left Hughes out because he hasn’t even made the bench recently and to be fair, the poll might have got a little bit too complicated! LOL I do agree that Bardsley hasn’t really shown anything that suggests he is a step up from Hughes though and Hughes does have great versatility. I did think he was cruising recently though (why is it you can’t use words like cruising, grooming etc without feeling dirty these days!?)

  • Don’t forget that J Lloyd can also play at right back , but the fact is we don’t have a single decent available right back and we are not going to see Delaney again this season (or ever). The question of who plays at centre half is not the problem , all 4 players are decent at the position , it’s who do we suffer at right back ?

    My choice would be Wilf, Cahill, Ollie,Hughes .

    Mr Learner – can we please have some dollars for a new right back !

  • Wrong on the Laursen issue Fear old boy. Just because Laursen is in contention, this does not mean he will automatically make the bench or the team. Just ask Luke Moore on that one. And IMHO the title was poor and uncalled for. How about another title? ‘2 wins in 19 games, who should replace O’Neil’. That is about a positive title as the ‘who gets dropped’ one. If you want sharp and snappy I suggest using crocodile or pit bull. I thought that you would rise above the levels that I would attribute to the gutter press. For the record and so that people do not get confused, The M’ON example is just that ….. an example. We are moving forward, M’ON is the man to take us forward. But it would help if you maintained the positive mantra that is emanating from the club.

  • No, not automatically but we have Laursen, Mellberg, Cahill, Ridgewell. Two will play or three if Mellberg goes to right back. Therefore someone will be on the bench, someone will be dropped.

    Can’t quite believe you are making an issue over a title, but then, if you are the voiceoftheholte, maybe you should start proving it, write a few articles and give us some super titles with it?!?! ;-p Seriously there are things to argue about and this is not one of them.

  • Shame HolteEnder43, as you say we won’t see Delaney this season and possibly not again, if he had been able to remain fit I don’t think there were many better right backs in the Prem. It is an area that needs looking at, not sure Phil Bardsley is the answer and Hughes is good but not great!

  • The main problem with our defence this year has been the number of times it’s changed. For a good solid defence to succeed you need the same players playing in their proven position week in week out. First we lost Laursen, then we had more keepers than Dudley zoo, then Ridge was changed for Cahill, Samuel for Bouma, Bardsley for Hughes. I think MON will be doing major surgery on the defence in the summer and will then try and keep the backbone of the team playing regularly. Laursen is undoubtedly a great player but all his injuries are disruptive and I can?t see him figuring in MON?s plans long term.

  • Simple choice, and we can’t decide, fudge it by playing Mellberg at full back – that’s why we don’t manage football teams. I’d stick with Cahill and Mellberg. It’s all quite close between all the players at the back and we should probably be consistent in our choice, the real debate should centre around WHO WE SHOULD PLAY IN MIDFIELD – that’s where we are losing it at the moment.

  • trouble is, for the midfield, we’ve got to go out and buy I think, at the moment it all but picks itself?

  • I agree with the Voiceoftheholte with regard to Melberg, he hasn’t been a good defender for years, he is unable to pick up players on set pieces. I’m not to sure he will be our first choice CB for much longer, it might not be a bad time to give him a rest. I dont agree with you with your rant over the title, i think the fear was just stating the facts, simple.

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