After Chiriches appearances in Moldova and at Villa Park, I think we finally have four central defenders at the Club that can be interchanged and deputize for each other without too much detriment to the team. This is not a luxury I ever recall us having although please feel free to correct me if you can.
We have been blessed with some great centre backs over the years. From my time there has been Gary Mabbut, Richard Gough, Ledley King and he who won’t be named. The problem has always been their back up or partners. For every good centre back we’ve had there have been too many Ramon Vega’s, Gary Doherty’s or Stuart Nethercotts.
Our four central defenders all bring different qualities and now face a battle with each other to claim the two spots available. Let’s take a look at them and see what they offer:
Jan Vertonghen – This man oozes class and in my mind he is the complete defender. He is big enough and strong enough to play the position and has ability with a ball at his feet more akin to a midfielder. He scores goals, makes tackles and his distribution is good. His positioning within the defence has been questionable at times but he was interchanged between LB and CB a lot last year and it has already happened this season. He has made no secret that he wants to play CB and he feels that it is his best position. I agree and although he is an adequate LB back up I feel he should be left to develop more at CB.
Michael Dawson – Our Club Captain and dedicated to the cause. If Daws had half as much ability as he does heart then he would be mentioned alongside world greats. Unfortunately he doesn’t. He is wonderful in the air, great at last ditch tackles and blocks, reads the game well and is a great leader on the pitch. Too often though he gets turned, and his distribution out of defence is frustrating to me a lot of the time. How many of those long diagonal balls he plays actually do us any good? I have mentioned his downsides but those positives far outweigh the negatives and his sheer determination and performances have taken him from being put in the shop window to a new 3 year contract.
Younes Kaboul – When last season started the big question was who is going to partner Kaboul? His form before the long term injury was nothing short of outstanding. A complete power house of a defender that won everything in the air, could time a tackle perfectly and was rarely caught out of position. A fully fit Kaboul that is playing to the level he was 2 years ago is as good as any Premier league defender. If he recaptures fitness and form and becomes that player again then more clean sheets are on the horizon.
Vlad Chiriches – The Romanian captain and new signing is undoubtedly an upgrade on Gallas and Caulker. He is destined to be fourth choice this season in the pecking order but his potential is obvious. Like Vertonghen he can bring the ball out of defense and start attacks with good passing and vision. His last ditch block at Sheriff was excellent and despite some nerves in his first couple of appearances there is enough on show to believe that he will come good. We have not seen enough of him yet but his inclusion on the team sheet does not feel me with dread like our back up defenders did last term
A good sign already is the amount of clean sheets we have kept, we have nearly surpassed last season’s tally before the end of October. If all are fit then Vertonghen and Kaboul get my vote. What about you?
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