Bitter rivals West Brom and Aston Villa face off for another time at The Hawthorns this evening.
The clubs seem to be in good form, particularly in front of goal, however, it is the defence that has been both clubs’ problem this season, and may prove fundamental to victory this evening. Therefore, players like Kyle Bartley and James Chester will be hugely influential.
With that in mind, let’s compare these two transfers…
West Brom signed Bartley in the summer from fellow relegated side Swansea for an undisclosed fee. He had spent the season before on loan at Leeds, where the 27-year-old had become quite a hero at Elland Road, and was, therefore, a massive coup for newly relegated West Brom.
Since arriving at The Hawthorns, the former England under-17 has solid, if unspectacular, in a West Brom team that look like major contenders to win the league.
However, Bartley has not been without his critics so far this season, as the former Arsenal academy player has seemed incompatible with manager Darren Moore’s style of play. The centre-back’s distribution has been called into question frequently, and this has cost The Baggies at times.
Consequently, the defender has not featured since the club’s slump in October. This hasn’t necessarily been a disaster of a signing, but it’s certainly not the best.
TT Grade: B-
The Wales international had played in the Premier League, but he was a proven Championship player, and this was seen as a great move for Villa in their hopes of bouncing back England’s top division.
Since joining, he has been pivotal for The Villans. He was instrumental last season with John Terry in the heart of the defence as The Villans came agonisingly close to gaining promotion back to the Premier League.
This season, he has been a rock at the back in what has been a hugely depleted Villa defence. All in all, this has been a great signing for the club.
TT Grade A
When looking at these two players, it’s really a no contest win for Chester. The Wales international has to beat a man that is struggling to feature for West Brom.
Admittedly, that is because The Baggies have greater strength in depth at the back, but it is actually Villa’s terrible state that proves why Chester was a better signing. Through great adversity, he has continued to perform for The Villans, and has proven to be a brilliant signing.