I had the pleasure of watching in person ten men hang on against a lacklustre Sunderland. A team battered an bruised from a sloppy south Wales display came back to Birmingham to be hammered by another poor team. Luckily, a point was grabbed as Villa end the year with a slightly respectable 21 points, level with Everton.
Now, let's get on with it -
GK: Brad Guzan: 6 & 8
Guz has to be marked down for the Swansea match, he was victim to a world class free-kick, yes, but we've seen him save better shots than that.. Thankfully, he improved during the home encounter with Sunderland and gave us our second home clean sheet of the year. Yay? Guzan made a few more impressive saves with a very important tip onto the post at the very end.
DL: Aly Cissokho: 6 & 6
Solid, if unimpressive. Aly's name wasn't even mentioned in the Swansea match. Same again with the Sunderland game, but he managed to get in some quality link up play with Jack Grealish towards the end.
DC1: Ron Vlaar: 6 & 9
Another person who wasn't tested against Swansea. Concrete Ron was in spectacular form against Sunderland, sprinting back to tackle Connor Wickham. He also created one of Villa's best chances with a header that tested Pantillimon.
DC2: Ciaran Clark: 7 & 7
Seeing Clark run up the wing against Swansea was certainly a sight for sore eyes. Reminiscent of a 19th century bruiser who lacked the pace or technique, Clark used his strength to set up a few runs for Jack Grealish. As an improvisation, it seemed to work. Ciaran was solid against Sunderland and held steady under pressure until a back injury took him off of the pitch.
DC3: Jores Okore: 4 & 7
Jores was anything but a 'steady eddie' against Swansea as he looked more like a fish out of water. Caught out under pressure and looking lost, he managed to redeem himself towards the end, but not after he had lost the ball away from position numerous times. Okore was lot better against Sunderland, but was still caught wandering into midfield a few times..
DR: Alan Hutton: 5 & 5
His biggest contribution was sliding into mud during the Swansea match. Need to see a bit more from him going forward.
M1: Carlos Sánchez 6 & 9
Solid against Swansea and a rock against Sunderland. Sánchez will be ever-present in this Villa team going forward. I've never seen a midfielder dominate Villa Park like Sánchez did against Sunderland in terms of possession won and interceptions. He managed to get the ball whenever we needed it.
M2: Fabian Delph: 5 & N/A
Delph was sent off against Sunderland and didn't do much against Swansea either.
M3: Tom Cleverley: 5 & 5
Very quiet in both matches, didn't put a foot wrong, but also didn't put a foot right. Will need to see more from him to justify paying over 5 million for a permanent transfer.
W1: Gabriel Agbonlahor: 6 & N/A
Villa's 'main wide threat' left a lot to be desired. Had a penalty shout against Swansea, but he really should have taken his chance better. Was suspended for the Sunderland match.
W2: Andi Weimann: 4 & 4
Andi showed off his physical ability as he made a few chances against Swansea and fluffed them. His ability is held back by a number of issues, chief among them being his passing. He did nothing against Sunderland.
W3: Charles N'Zogbia N/A & 2
Did not appear in the Swansea match and he shouldn't have made the team against Sunderland. I have never seen such a lazy player in a Villa shirt. Walking, uninspired and lazy. Has no excuse and I sincerely hope he gets his act together for the sake of the team.
F: Christian Benteke: 6 & 6
Played a lot better in the Swansea match. He isn't getting the service he needs from the 9 other outfielders and has had to make his chances on his own. Will feel unlucky about the two chances he missed against Swansea.
Leandro Bacuna: N/A & 5
Didn't do much and contributed more than N'Zogbia.
Jack Grealish: 6 & 8
Jack was well defended by Swansea, but managed to blow Sunderland away two days later. Created a number of chances with some key passes and dribbles. Needs to be kept in the team and at least start every other game. He contributes more than N'Zogbia and Weimann combined and is likely the breath of fresh air we need.