Villa v West Ham: Vlaar relishing physical test against Carroll
Ron Vlaar has backed Villa's rearguard to cope with the physical threat of West Ham striker Andy Carroll this afternoon.
Vlaar is relishing his tussle with the England forward, who marked his return to action with winning goal in West Ham's victory over Swansea last weekend.
Villa's defending at set pieces has been scrutinised in recent weeks, particularly after Marouane Fellaini's stoppage time equaliser in last Saturday's draw at Everton.
It is an area that 6ft 3in striker Carroll and his Hammers team-mates are sure to target in today's game.
Vlaar knows Villa's defensive resolve will be sternly tested but he believes the back four have what it takes to stand up to the threat.
"He's a very good player," said the Dutchman.
"I remember his goal in the Euros against Sweden.
"It was top class. That's his quality.
"We have to face that and deal with it and make sure he cannot come in that position.
"Also the cross, we have to stop that already.
"He came from Newcastle where he scored a lot and it was not easy for him at Liverpool, I guess, and now he is playing at West Ham.
"He was injured as well for a while. I think he has the ability to play at the highest level and he has qualities that is for sure.
"If you score goals like that it says something."
Pick up your tickets for West Ham.