clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Player Ratings: Tom Cleverley shines in scrappy win over West Ham

Tom Cleverley scored the only goal of the match and was Villa's most attacking player in a 1-0 win over West Ham that all but secured safety for Tim Sherwood's squad.

Tom Cleverley scored the game-winning goal for the second consecutive match.
Tom Cleverley scored the game-winning goal for the second consecutive match.
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Tim Sherwood has done a lot of amazing things since becoming Aston Villa manager, but turning Tom Cleverley into a goal-scoring machine might just be the most incredible.

The Manchester United loanee midfielder scored for the third consecutive match in the Premier League and nabbed the winner for the second consecutive week, giving Aston Villa a 1-0 win against West Ham that should be enough to ensure Premier League football at Villa Park next season.

Based on a scale of 1 to 10 -- with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best -- here are the Aston Villa match ratings, along with stats and analysis, from Saturday's key victory over West Ham.

GK: Shay Given, Rating: 6

Quiet day for Given, who had to make just one save on a James Collins header in the second half, which he did comfortably. Doesn't look like Brad Guzan will be back in the starting lineup anytime soon, and rightfully so. Shay Given continues to be a solid keeping option with better kicking capabilities than the American.

RB: Leandro Bacuna, Rating: 6

A typical energetic display with pleasantly assured passing from Bacuna. However, he was very lucky not to concede a penalty shortly after Cleverley's goal; as a corner swung in, the Villa right back clearly pulled a West Ham player to the ground, but the referee had already whistled for a foul by Kevin Nolan on Given. Wouldn't be surprised to see Sherwood start Hutton next week to gauge which right back will start for Villa in the FA Cup Final.

CB: Jores Okore, Rating: 8

94 percent passing. Two chances created. Those are numbers you'd expect from Cesc Fabregas, not Jores Okore. But the young Villa centre back not only proved dangerous going forward and with his precise passing, but his solid defending -- highlighted by 100 percent on aerial duels and nine clearances -- kept West Ham's attacking options at bay all afternoon.

CB: Ron Vlaar, Rating: 7

A better performance from Vlaar after his shaky moments against Everton last week. Seven clearances and two tackles for the veteran Dutch defender in a match where the Villa backline wasn't tested often, but when they were they snuffed out any danger.

LB: Kieran Richardson, Rating: 7

100 percent tackling and aerial duels, eight clearances and one chance created. You really can't ask for much more out of poor Kieran, who has gotten a lot of shtick in recent weeks -- and rightfully so -- but seems to be improving slightly each match at left back. Still don't think he's a long-term solution at the position for Villa, but you have to give Richardson credit for the way he's eliminated mistakes from his game.

CDM: Ashley Westwood, Rating: 6

Alright day for Westwood, who started well but faded in the second half as Villa's dominance faded and nerves set in. The English holding midfielder didn't do anything too poorly, but as the team's engine and pace setter, some of the blame for Villa's lackluster second half must go to Westwood.

RCM: Tom Cleverley, Rating: 8

Christian Benteke gave Villa a chance at staying up, but it has been Tom Cleverley that has scored the goals to keep Villa up this season, earning four points over the last two weeks for the club. Who would've thunk? His winning tap-in made it three goals in three games for the Manchester United loanee, who suddenly will be a hot commodity as a free agent this summer. Cleverley's attacking confidence was apparent throughout the match. Hit a great volley that stung Adrian's mits early on and produced a fine strike that the West Ham goalkeeper could only beat away late.

LCM: Fabian Delph, Rating: 7

A standard 7 performance from the captain, who did a little bit of everything on Saturday. Delph had 91-percent passing while creating three chances, completing two crosses, making two clearances and one tackle -- all while getting through another game without a yellow card. You'd struggle to find a more complete -- and more consistent -- midfielder in England right now.

RAM: Charles N'Zogbia, Rating: 6

I feel like I say it about N'Zogbia every week, but his end product is almost always disappointing. Case in point of that happened in this match: N'Zogbia had a brilliant three-touch sequence early in the second half, settling a fizzing ball, taking on one defender before dribbling past another -- only to see his shot hit the side netting. Subbed off once again.

LAM: Jack Grealish, Rating: 8

Speaking of end product, Grealish provided just that with his brilliant run, composure and pass that put the ball on a plate for Tom Cleverley for Villa's goal. Another great performance from Grealish, who could've had a second assist had Gabby not scuffed a late chance wide. When you have as many misplaced passes as chances created (2), you had an incredible match as an attacking midfielder.

ST: Christian Benteke, Rating: 6

With how Benteke plays, you're going to get days like this from the Belgian striker -- and that's not a bad thing. Just one shot attempt from Benteke, which was a reaching early effort from an Okore flick, but he was anything but anonymous. Hit the post when ruled offside in the first half. Overall, his threat and quality were on par with what he's done since Tim Sherwood took over at Aston Villa, which is a good sign.


RAM: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Rating: 5

Nice to see Gabby back from injury. Should've scored late when Grealish put him through, but fortunately the miss didn't cost Villa. His pace provided a great option on the counter for Villa, and it will be interesting to see if Sherwood replaces N'Zogbia with Gabby in the starting lineup, or if the manager sees Agbonlahor as an impact sub in the final weeks of the season.

RB: Alan Hutton, Rating: 5

Another sub appearance for Hutton. As I stated earlier, with safety all but secured, Hutton could be in line for a start at some point for Sherwood to gauge his right back options for the FA Cup Final.

CDM: Carlos Sanchez, No Rating

Thought Sanchez maybe should've came on earlier because Westwood wasn't at his best on Saturday, but I don't blame Sherwood for delaying the move considering Sanchez's history of being out of position and making stupid plays.