What more needs to be said? Yesterday against Bolton, Steve Bruce and his men channeled Brad Gilbert.
With their hard fought 1-0 victory over Bolton, Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last seven Championship matches. Villa now sit just one point out of the playoff spots, and only four points behind second-place Wolves.
When Bruce and his men return to the pitch on October 14th at the Molineux, it is a massive six-pointer.
Here are the full player ratings -- based on a scale of 1 to 10, with five being an average performance -- for Saturday's 1-0 victory over Bolton:
GK: Sam Johnstone, Rating: 6.5
Bolton managed three shots on target yesterday and Johnstone saved them all. The goalkeeper also made a confident claim late on when the Wanderers looked a threat to get an equalizer. It was another clean sheet and solid outing from Johnstone. Certainly would be great if Villa can secure his services permanently.
LB: Neil Taylor, Rating: 6
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail Steve Bruce expressed his displeasure with his left-back seeing red for that challenge. He certainly made the match officials aware of his feelings. The club intends to appeal the decision. It was definitely a high challenge by the Welshman, but the game was extremely physical. With that said, the red card doesn’t detract from the fact that Taylor had a good showing yesterday afternoon.
CB: James Chester, Rating: 6.75
Yesterday afternoon saw Villa get another clean sheet that was earned with solid play at the back. Chester led the claret and blue with six defensive aerials won. He also managed to accurately connect on 36 of his 42 total passes. That’s a rather impressive number for a centre back. The Welsh international had another performance that would suggest he and John Terry are starting to live up to their billing as one of the better centre back pairings in the Championship.
CB: John Terry, Rating: 6.75
It would have been great to see Terry open his account for the club yesterday. He certainly had a great opportunity to do so in the 69th minute when he latched onto Conor Hourihane’s cross. Terry had five defensive clearances from the 18-yard box against Bolton. After a few early season performances that were a bit suspect, the captain has looked far more comfortable and is playing well at this level.
Yesterday while Chelsea supporters were declaring Andreas Christensen the heir to Terry at Stamford Bridge, many Villans wanted to praise the captain’s recent form:
6 games 1 goal conceded yeah John Terry is really finished #avfc— Peter Dignan (@peterdiggy) September 30, 2017
RB: Ahmed Elmohamady, Rating: 7
Another match, another sneaky good performance from the Egyptian. Once again, Elmo’s 80 total touches led the way for Villa yesterday. He also led the team in defensive clearances, notching eight on the right flank. Based on pure statistics, he was Villa’s Man of the Match.
LM: Albert Adomah, Rating: 6
Adomah’s recent form has set such an incredibly high standard for him to live up to. Against Bolton the Ghanaian winger was not as consistently menacing as he had been in previous matches. Then again, Steve Bruce’s side as a whole was not as threatening going forward. It was a decent enough performance as Adomah still led Villa in both successful dribbles and attempted dribbles.
CM: Conor Hourihane, Rating: 6.5
Going into the second international break of the season, Hourihane and Adomah are Villa’s joint-top scorers with five each in the Championship. Much like his goal scoring counterpart, Hourihane’s play yesterday was not as good as some of his prior performances. However, the Irish international still managed 76 touches and two of Villa’s shots.
CM: Glenn Whelan, Rating: 6.5
Against the trotters, Whelan had one of his best outings of the season. Whelan connected on 52 of his 58 passes. The midfielder also had two defensive blocks inside Villa’s 18-yard box. On top of that, he also had three clearances inside of Villa’s half. Alex Dicken of the Birmingham Mail had a great take on Whelan’s play of late:
“The Irishman is the sort of player who goes through the game largely unnoticed but his team-mates know exactly what he brings to the party.”
If Whelan continues to be a Milford man in Villa’s midfield, then that is a good thing.
RM: Robert Snodgrass, Rating: 6.75 (substituted off, 89th minute)
The Scot had 57 total touches yesterday afternoon against Bolton. The majority of those touches came in attacking positions. He and Ahmed Elmohamady linked up well on the right-flank. Snodgrass nearly grabbed his first goal for the club in the 78th minute. His shot forced a save from Mark Howard. Snodgrass looks like he’ll prove to be a shrewd loan signing as it appears that he can be important in Villa’s promotion push.
ST: Jonathan Kodjia, Rating: 7.25 (MotM) (substituted off, 72nd minute)
Those who have criticized Kodjia for being a bit selfish probably did not enjoy him going it alone in the 37th minute. However Jimmy totally redeemed himself two minutes later when he earned and converted a penalty. His first goal of the season was a welcomed sight at Villa Park. In a match that wasn’t exactly full of pleasing football from either team, Kodjia’s penalty was enough to earn him Man of the Match honours.
ST: Keinan Davis, Rating: 6 (substituted off, 73rd minute)
Surprise surprise, the young striker won four offensive aerials against the Wanderers. Davis’ hold-up prowess was yet again on display. After not scoring in six Championship appearances last season, he has been a bit of a revelation for Steve Bruce this season. The likes of Arsenal and United can sod off.
ST: Scott Hogan, Rating: 5.75 (substitute, 72nd minute)
The new Irish international came on and provided a bit of a spark. Hogan has shown his eye for a clever attacking run. His fellow Ireland teammate Glenn Whelan picked out one of those runs in the 78th minute. It looked a real opportunity for Hogan to get a goal in the Championship, but unfortunately his shot was blocked. With his attacking work rate on display, Hogan put in a fairly good shift yesterday.
CAM: Josh Onomah, Rating: 5.5 (substitute, 73rd minute)
Onomah came on and completed 15 of 16 passes in just over twenty minutes of action. He also tallied 19 touches in Bolton’s defensive half. Not bad at all for ‘Joshy.’
CB: Christopher Samba, Rating: 6.5 (substitute, 89th minute)
The big lad had one massive block in the 95th minute. If Samba hadn’t got in the way of Gary Madine’s shot, we would likely be talking about Villa dropping points. That one block gets Samba a higher rating.
AVTV Camera Operator: Unknown male or female, Rating: 2
Made a rough match a little less attractive by really making a meal out of it at times.