It was a remarkable game of Premier League football and one that showed everything good and bad about Aston Villa under Tim Sherwood.
An impressive first half was followed by a horrific second half. Two incredible goals by Villa were followed by three Leicester goals that were all preventable. And at the end of it all, Aston Villa had lost to Leicester City 3-2 in one of the best matches of a young Premier League season.
With lots to talk about, let's get right to it. Here are the Aston Villa player ratings -- along with analysis and stats -- from Sunday's loss to Leicester. Players are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.
GK: Brad Guzan, Rating: 3
Guzan's best moment was followed by his worst. In the 86th minute, after Leicester had tied the match, he picked out a 70-yard pass to Westwood to start a counter attack that should've resulted in a scoring chance. It was a great improvement over his late decision making at Crystal Palace that led to the losing goal. However, Leicester's winning goal a few minutes later resulted partially from terrible goalkeeping by Guzan. He didn't play Mahrez's ball over the top at all, instead just clattering in to Nathan Dyer's body and allowing the winger to loop a header into an empty net. For me, Guzan could've done better with the Foxes' first as well. A goalkeeper should either stay on his line on defensive corner kicks or come for it. The American did neither, wandering in to no-man's land and seeing De Laet's deflection fly over him and into the net. Does Sherwood stick with Guzan going forward? Brad isn't exactly making a positive case for himself.
RB: Leandro Bacuna, Rating: 4
Even when Villa were winning, Bacuna wasn't having a great game. Leicester appeared to have a plan on the right back to box him in and giving him no option but to play square balls, which Bacuna did too many times inaccurately. This set up a few Leicester counter attacks too many. Overall, the Dutchman did alright on Albrighton, defended decently when needed and found some space when it was there, but his poor passing didn't help when the Leicester onslaught was in full swing.
CB: Micah Richards, Rating: 5
A behemoth for 70 minutes, Richards was one of a few Villa players who noticeably tired in the final 20 minutes, which played a big role in the Leicester comeback. The pace of the game was incredible throughout and it took its toll on Richards. He was brilliant throughout the first half and much of the second, especially in the air, winning all six of his aerial duels and making 11 clearances. But the persistent direct play of Leicester's pacy wingers eventually wore him down, which was highlighted by his failure to move his feet to cut out the cross on Vardy's equalizer.
CB: Joleon Lescott, Rating: 5
A similar tale to Richards for new signing Lescott. Amazing composure and solid defending throughout the first half and much of the second half, but eventually the end-to-end nature of the game resulted him wearing down considerably. The corner kick for Leicester's first goal came from a spell of play that began with a terrible Lescott mistake, and the mistakes kept on coming from there as the veteran defender showed his age. He looked a quality addition for much of the match though, so hopefully Villa get more of that going forward in contests that aren't as physically demanding as this.
LB: Jordan Amavi, Rating: 4
Poor Amavi had to deal with the unstoppable Riyad Mahrez for 90 minutes. On 10 occasions Amavi was beaten as the talented Frenchman committed three fouls and was beaten off the dribble seven times. Incredibly, ALL TEN (10) of those occurred in the second half. Amavi was a 7/10 in the first half, playing well and helping Villa control proceedings impressively. But that second half...What a defensive nightmare for the left back, largely due to the lack of help he received, poor subs from his manager and the tiredness of his teammates.
CDM: Ashley Westwood, Rating: 6
I like Westwood. I really do. But enough of the driven corner kicks every time. Seriously. Villa scored from one against Bournemouth, but when teams know they're coming every time, they don't work. Besides that, Westwood played decent again, ticking over the midfield when Villa weren't on the back foot and covering for Sanchez when needed. Speaking of which: I loved Westwood and Sanchez in the same role as partnering central defensive midfielders in a 4-2-3-1, and it worked beautifully for 70 minutes. They really compliment each other fantastically at times. He was also one of the few Villans with legs for the fight at the end, as shown by his willingness to sprint the leg of the field on the aforementioned counter attack started by Guzan with the score at 2-2.
CDM: Carlos Sanchez, Rating: 4
Sanchez was the Villa player who tired the most. It's hard to say he should've been substituted in a match where Villa were hanging on for the result because of his defensive capabilities...but he probably should've been substituted. He just had nothing left in the last half hour, largely due to his solid play and tireless work during the time before that. Case in point: Sanchez was 3-for-3 in tackles in the first 60 minutes and 1-for-5 on tackles in the final 30. The Leicester players just glided by him during their comeback, and Sanchez offered no help to his already-tired defense in the run in. Also, 69-percent passing for a central midfielder is very poor.
RW: Carles Gil, Rating: 7
Gil was David Silva Lite on Sunday before being substituted. It was no coincidence the match changed when he left immediately after he scored a quite brilliant goal that doubled the Villa lead. His strike was sensational, but it was far from his only contribution as he displayed a penchant for finding space and picking a pass throughout the first half. He set Grealish up for a great chance early on that should've been dispatched. And with 90-percent passing in an expansive attacking midfield role, Gil proved his worth in a rare start for the Spaniard under Sherwood. Every Villa fan will hope to see more of Gil in the future.
LW: Scott Sinclair, Rating: 4
The most anonymous of Villa's attacking players on Sunday. He probably will feel like he should've scored when he got on the end of Agbonlahor's cross in the first 10 minutes, but he couldn't wrap his foot around the ball on the stretch. Besides that, Sinclair did very little for Villa in this match. In a match that was all about attacking football, dribbling and pacey wingers, Sinclair needed to do much more than have one successful take-on and zero tackles.
CAM: Jack Grealish, Rating: 6
It actually wasn't Grealish's best game, but he scored a memorable goal that gave Villa the lead in a local rivalry match -- after he had missed an easier chance a few minutes prior. His curled finish rewarded a promising first half performance, which was aided largely due to a strong outing from Jack. It was what Villa deserved. But he completely disappeared in the second half as Villa defended deeper and deeper. It's understandable that Grealish, coming back from injury, didn't play well for the full 90 minutes. But going forward, he needs to be an outlet for attacking moves with his dribbling and passing for the entire game and not just for the fleeting, beautiful moments that he provided on Sunday.
ST: Gabby Agbonlahor, Rating: 6
It was a great decision by Tim Sherwood to start Agbonlahor in this match -- one that will probably and deservedly be mostly overlooked by his poor substitution decisions. But Gabby played very well, overwhelming the slower Leicester defenders with his pace and giving Villa an attacking edge that Gestede just wouldn't have provided. Villa created eight total chances in this match, and four were from Agbonlahor. His run and pass to Gil for the second goal was classic Gabby, and he was unlucky not to have an assist earlier as well when setting up Sinclair.
Jordan Ayew, Rating: 2
Offered absolutely nothing. Just a dreadful substitute appearance. His introduction killed Villa's momentum after the Gil goal. He was 0-for-4 at take-ons and was beaten off the dribble four times by Leicester players while "trying" to help out defensively. Gave Mahrez the freedom of the King Power Stadium in the final 20 minutes, and the result was three Leicester goals. Clearly not ready for the Premier League -- at least not in high-pace contests such as this.
Rudy Gestede, Rating: 3
Did alright defensively, heading away two Leicester crosses after coming on. But he struggled to get Villa up the pitch with any meaningful hold-up play, which was the purpose of his substitution.
Alan Hutton, Rating: 3
Did nothing to stop the Leicester tidal wave after replacing Bacuna, misplacing two passes. Didn't cover Dyer's run well on the winning goal.