With Premier League football off the cards for the foreseeable future, we’re looking to keep our readers entertained and return to our ‘Transfer Battles’ feature. In this piece, we’re grading teams on the deals for the players who should have been playing next weekend, pairing them up against a would-be opponent.
Aston Villa’s next Premier League fixture would have been a huge one, a West Midlands derby against Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves. It would have been a big game not only because of the local rivalry, but also due to the fact that both clubs would have required three points for different reasons.
Whilst the Villans are desperately trying to avoid relegation for the Championship, Wolves are firmly in the battle to qualify for European football next season and could even sneak into a top four place (BBC Sport).
Derby matches can sometimes be cagey affairs, with the team having the more sturdy defensive unit often coming out on top. With that in mind, two players who could have had a major say on the outcome of this fixture are their lynchpin’s at the back; Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady.
But who would come out on top? We’ve taken a closer look at the English duo…
Whilst it hasn’t been the best campaign for Aston Villa upon their return to the Premier League, one man who is often lauded for his role in the team is Mings.
The centre-back has been an ever-present in the side this season after arriving from AFC Bournemouth in a deal worth up to £26.5 million in the summer (The Guardian), starting 26 times in all competitions including 23 in the league (Transfermarkt).
He certainly does have qualities which are desirable in a centre-back including both pace and power. Added to that he also averages a whopping 5.8 clearances per game this season which is impressive (SofaScore) and has even been handed a couple of England appearances by Gareth Southgate (Transfermarkt).
However, there are weaknesses to his game too. Indeed he averages just 0.5 tackles per game and he has helped his side keep just three clean sheets this season which isn’t great. On top of that, he has also made two errors which have led to shots, two errors which have led to goals and given away one penalty, showing that he does have mistakes in him (SofaScore).
Against a Wolves side featuring the prolific Raul Jimenez, those kinds of errors are likely to be punished.
TT Grade: B
Coady has been at Wolves for significantly longer having joined from Huddersfield Town in 2015, for a fee believed to be as little as £2 million (BBC Sport). He has since moved up a division with the West Midlands club, but he remains a regular and has started in all 29 of their Premier League matches this term (Transfermarkt).
Whilst Coady averages less interceptions per game (3.2), he does make more tackles (1.2) than Mings whilst he has also helped Wolves keep eight clean sheets, significantly more than the three his compatriot has kept with Villa (SofaScore).
Another area he has outperformed Mings this season is in the passing department. The former Liverpool man has a 62% long ball accuracy compared to just 39% for the ex-Cherries defender whilst he loses possession on average 7.4 times per game compared to 9.8.
He is not perfect and has made two errors leading to goals and has given away one penalty, but he hasn’t made any errors leading to shots (SofaScore).
Alongside Willy Boly and Romain Saiss he has been part of a pretty solid back three for the Molineux side and there is certainly an argument to suggest that he should be ahead of Mings in the pecking order for England based on performances during the current campaign.
TT Grade: A-
Both of these English defenders have been key for their respective clubs this season and have qualities and flaws. However, Coady just about has the edge at the moment and is the more accomplished defender, given he his part of a more solid unit at Wolves, is better with the ball at his feet and makes slightly less defensive errors than his compatriot.
Villa fans, would you swap Tyrone Mings for Conor Coady? Let us know below…
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