Vlaar wary of Carroll threat
Skipper Ron Vlaar admits Aston Villa have to conquer their frailty at defending set-pieces as they prepare for another searching examination from Andy Carroll in Sunday's home game with West Ham.
Vlaar held his hand up and took responsibility for Everton striker Marouane Fellaini's late equaliser in last weekend's 3-3 draw at Goodison Park. It was the latest blow to hurt Villa from a dead-ball situation which has become their Achilles heel this season.
Vlaar said: "Are teams beginning to target Villa? People will know our struggles (at set pieces). I bet they do. That's what I would have done. West Ham have a very strong team and play a lot of long balls. We know that so we have to be ready for that."
He added: "It's something we have to take care of and focus on. We know the situation, I'm not afraid of that. We have to stand up and be counted, be brave enough."
Vlaar is aware of the threat that Carroll, on loan at the Hammers from Liverpool, will pose after his return from injury.
He said: "He's a very good player. I remember his goal for England 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. We also have to stop the crosses.
"He scored a lot of goals for Newcastle, 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.
"But I think he has the ability to play at the highest level and he has quality, that is for sure. If you score goals like that (against Sweden), it says something."