With all the money that Aston Villa spent last season, it’s a little surprising therefore that the best of the bunch was possibly the least flashy of the bunch, in James Chester.
Sure, Jonathan Kodjia got the goals, but in a Villa side a few months removed from a dismal campaign, James Chester steadied the ship in the heart of defence. Such was the Welsh international’s performances, his temporary stint as captain by far transcended the time the actual captain was out injured for.
It’s set to be an interesting season for Chezza. All eyes will be on the man beside him, in either John Terry, or the towering Chris Samba, but he remains the best centre half in the squad. His excellent partnership with Nathan Baker is sadly over, but it will be interesting to see how well, and how quickly he gels with his new teammates. If Chester and co can figure it out, Villa can in theory keep the goals conceded to a minimum, which, in a division such as this, is half the battle.
At 28, he is the youngest of the starting centre backs in contention. With aging limbs around him, we can expect Chester to be the most consistent component of the Villa backline, once again.