By Amir Mir
Centre-back James Chester moved from West Brom to Aston Villa during the summer transfer window and it is fair to say that he has been a brilliant purchase for the club.
The 27-year-old ace has shown in the Championship this season that he is of Premier League quality and the only player in his team who is of that standard.
Villa faced their biggest test at the weekend when they were comfortably beaten by title chasers Tottenham in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane.
Despite the negative tactics by manager Steve Bruce, Chester showed why his calming influence at the back, aerial strength and ability to incept danger quickly is one of many reasons why he is a top quality defender.
Chester would have been disappointed with the opening goal that was conceded against Spurs but for the majority of the game, he withstood the pressure from the home team.
This is something the Welshman has been doing all term in the second tier and proving why he should be, at the very least, be playing for a mid-table side in the PL.
It is very surprising that Baggies manager Tony Pulis decided to sell Chester in the summer, yet keep the much-criticised and ageing Martin Olsson – however, what is Pulis’ loss, is their rivals gain.
Nonetheless, if Bruce’s side are to finish in the top six during this campaign then Chester will no doubt play a huge part in that.
The former Manchester United academy graduate has not just performed on the domestic circuit but proved his worth on the international level too.
He played every minute of Wales’ successful Euro 2016 campaign where they did remarkably well to reach the semi-finals against all the odds, only to be beaten by eventual winners Portugal.