Earlier today we found out that Aston Villa central defender Jores Okore will likely miss this weekend's match against Manchester United due to a knee injury that he picked up while training for Denmark. Already this season, Villa have lost approximately six combined months of playing time due to international-duty injuries sustained by Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos, and the addition of this one (plus the fact that Senderos doesn't seem to be anywhere near returning) means that the number will only grow.
Worse still is the consideration that Villa currently have at least six defenders injured. Aly Cissokho, Kieran Richardson, Ron Vlaar, Philippe Senderos, Nathan Baker, and Jores Okore are the sure things. Matthew Lowton had been doing an excellent job at left back before the Swansea match (and had even earned praise from Tim Sherwood) and so I think we can chalk up to injury the fact that he made neither the starting XI or the bench.
Why Aston Villa have been so cursed is beside the point (though I'm pretty sure that Martin O'Neill offended some minor deity as he left Birmingham and that deity has been getting revenge on our club ever since). The real question is: who is going to play centre back alongside Ciaran Clark on Saturday? We've got a few suggestions for Tim Sherwood. Some are more serious than others, but we'll let you decide which is which.
We've already seen Sánchez get a chance to play some central defense when he came on for Clark in the Sunderland match. Given that he normally plays a not-too-mobile central holding midfield role, it wouldn't be too big of a shift. His penchant for playing do-or-die tackles with no safety valve is worrisome, but then so, too, is the idea of only having on CB.
I'm not sure that Hutton is really suited to central defense given how much he likes to contribute in the attack. He wouldn't really be afforded that opportunity if he were next to Clark. But he has been one of Aston Villa's better defenders this season, and if he were able to focus almost entirely on that he might be even better. The problem with this solution is that if Matthew Lowton is actually injured then Villa would only have one wing-back capable of functioning (Leandro Bacuna) since they sent Lewis Kinsella out on loan.
I mean, if he's not injured. We're starting to hit the point in this where I find myself thinking "well, you've played in a defensive position before. Why not?"
A Golden Corral
In 2011 Ted Harwood wrote about Arsenal signing a Golden Corral Buffet restaurant to play right back. I've heard that they might be open to letting the buffet move on an emergency loan, and it could be a nice bump to Villa. There are concerns that the buffet may have lost a few steps with age, but it would put up a formidable wall to attacks coming up Villa's right side:
Too bad we aren't playing West Brom, as we'd have the added benefit of watching Brown Ideye ricochet shots off the (salad) bar.
Yes, you! The reader! Or you, Tim Sherwood! Or You, the awkwardly named male sheep. Villa could increase revenues by running a lottery before the match. Tickets start at £25 at two winners each get to play one half in central defense at Old Trafford. Wearing one of the most historic kits in one of the best-known stadia in the world? You can tell me that Villa wouldn't raise £25 million, but I'm not sure why you're lying to someone on the internet.
With his recent injuries, I can't imagine that Benteke is too mobile, but he is still big. Bigger than me and you, even, and the last time we had a player who could claim as much we sang songs about him. Sure, he was a striker. And sure Benteke probably can't defend but...
Hey look! Over there! An Eagle!