Villa chase Arsenal and Chelsea midfielders to ease relegation fears

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Alex McLeish has struggled to identify his best central midfield combinations this season at Aston Villa and change could soon arrive again if he manages to sign either Josh McEachran or Emmanuel Frimpong on loan.

Stiliyan Petrov has largely remained the one constant in Villa’s midfield and McLeish has mainly opted to pick an energetic tackling youngster alongside him.

Ciaran Clark is the latest to occupy this role, following on from Fabian Delph and Chris Herd before him and this is a position that would suit Frimpong.

However, with Petrov now getting a yard slower, a pairing of this kind in midfield often leaves Villa short of creative options.

McLeish has also tried playing Petrov in the holding role and then selected either Barry Bannan or another loanee Jermaine Jenas alongside him.

But with Jenas spending more time in the treatment room than on the pitch since his arrival, this deal has not reaped the rewards that McLeish would have hoped.

Chelsea’s McEachran would add an element of ball retention and creativity to the midfield and could have the sort of impact that Jack Wilshere provided when spending a previous loan spell at Bolton.

Villa’s central midfield weaknesses have been a large contributor to their slip down the Premier League standings and they now find themselves on the brink of getting dragged into a relegation fight.

Aston Villa’s odds are currently 12/1 to finish in the bottom three this season.

Getting Stephen Ireland somewhere back to his best could also help Villa climb back into the top half of the standings as a combination of him, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Charles N’Zogbia could produce numerous chances for the prolific Darren Bent, who is being starved of good chances at present.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.