It was a great occasion as the match saw the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, in attendance…
Oh wait, the match actually just saw an idiotic lot of the roughly 22,000 Bluenoses use their dumb*** clappers (i.e. always good when your ground needs artificial noise), bottles, coffee cups and other items in a way that would have pleased such missile enthusiasts.
The as always scrappy affair ended in a 0-0 draw that leaves Aston Villa in sixth and Birmingham City still toiling near the relegation spots.
As a whole, as some neutrals pointed out, the play on the pitch was not the best:
Watching Villa Blews as a neutral is akin to self flagellation!!— Pete Colley (@petecolley) October 29, 2017
However, Villa supporters will feel hard done by the woodwork as both Keinan Davis and Jonathan Kodjia were just inches away from giving Villa all three points.
After yesterday’s draw, Aston Villa’s record versus the Blues is now: 53W – 32D – 31L.
Still...12 years since we last lost a league game against Birmingham City. #AVFC— Matt Lynch (@mattlyynch) October 29, 2017
Here are the full player ratings -- based on a scale of 1 to 10, -- for the scoreless draw at St. Andrews:
GK: Sam Johnstone, Rating: 5.5
All of Villa’s supporters likely had their hearts in their mouths when in the 34th minute, Johnstone made a meal out of his kick out of the box and hit it straight into Isaac Vassel. Villa’s keeper nearly became Sam Johnstone a/k/a Peter Enckelman.
Johnstone wasn’t terribly troubled in the match as he saved all of the Blues three shots on target. His best save was probably in the 39th minute when he stopped Cheikh N’Doye’s near point blank header. Not sure you can give him too much credit for Jota’s howler, but with a clean sheet, he’ll get an above average rating.
It should be noted that the Manchester United loanee has expressed that he is pleased to be at Aston Villa!
LB: Alan Hutton, Rating: 5.5
Against Birmingham City, Hutton tallied five defensive clearances and two blocks. He also did quite well containing Jota’s left foot. In the 38th minute, when Jota finally decided to attempt to go to this right, Hutton contained the Spaniard’s attack and limited it to a City corner.
In the 78th minute his clever link-up play with Glenn Whelan got him through on goal. His shot was saved and deflected to Keinan Davis for what was very nearly the winning goal. All in all, it was another respectable outing for the Scot.
With that said, the derby was the third and final match of Neil Taylor’s suspension. In those three matches Alan Hutton has undoubtedly held his own as the starting left-back for Steve Bruce.
Thus it does seem fair to ask whether or not Taylor slots straight back into the starting XI against Preston on Wednesday?
CB: James Chester, Rating: 5.75
The Welshman notched a total of seven defensive clearances, four of which were in the box. He also tallied two blocks and led Aston Villa with four defensive interceptions yesterday. Having quite literally played every minute in the Championship since joining the club, Chester has more often than not been solid. Yesterday’s match was no exception to that trend.
CB: John Terry, Rating: 6
Villa’s captain very nearly replicated last weekend’s goal when he got on the end of Conor Hourihane’s free kick in the 67th minute. His headed attempt was just inches wide and was oh so close to being tapped in by his cohort, James Chester.
Defensively, ‘JT26’ was sturdy at the back. Prior to Alan Hutton’s tackle on Isaac Vassell (i.e. something which Bluenoses are outraged by), Terry did well in that physical battle. The legend also made nine total defensive clearances and won two out of three aerial duals.
Like James Chester he was unyielding in defence and helped the Villa keep another clean sheet.
RB: Ahmed Elmohamady, Rating: 5.5
With a team-leading 57 total touches, Elmo was back to his previous ways in yesterday’s Second City Derby. The right-back played all up and down the right flank.
Offensively, Elmohamady notched seventeen passes in the Blues defensive half. He yet again showed his excellent vision and crossing ability by playing a couple of threatening balls into City’s box.
On defence, he tallied a total of five clearances and won his only defensive aerial dual. It was another sound performance from the man who has made the position in the starting XI his own.
Also, here’s a simple history lesson for the projectile throwing Bluenoses:
Lol Elmohamady ain't fazed by Blues fans. Man has played in Egypt/Algeria.— James Rushton (@Jamorushton) October 29, 2017
LM/LW/RM: Albert Adomah, Rating: 5
The Ghanian winger had 27 of 33 total touches in the Blues half. Adomah was definitely involved in some attacking moves and did complete 81% of his passes. Though on the whole, much like his free kick in the dying moments, the winger was not incredibly effective. It was just an average outing for him yesterday at St. Andrews.
CM: Conor Hourihane, Rating: 5 (substituted off, 74th minute)
In the 47th minute, nearly all of the performances that have endeared the Irish international to the Villa faithful were almost thrown into the bin:
On that play, Hourihane was the equivalent of Ted Stroehmann. Based on that alone, you might argue he had a below average outing.
However, considering his three defensive blocks on shots from City, Hourihane redeemed himself a bit. Like the collective play on the pitch, he too was average.
CM/CDM: Glenn Whelan, Rating: 6
When he wasn’t tumbling backwards and trying to be turned into Ricky Hatton by Cheikh N’Doye, Whelan played pretty well.
You could almost draw a perfect circle around the Irishman’s 53 touches from box-to-box. Whelan statistics were fairly impressive:
· 79% pass completion
· 8 defensive clearances
· 2 interceptions
· 2 blocks
· 2 /2 offensive aerial duals won
He was also involved in the move that led to what should have been Keinan Davis’ goal. Simply put, the former Stoke City stalwart had a fine performance.
RM: Robert Snodgrass, Rating: 4.75 (Substituted off, 59th minute)
Snodgrass was fairly non-existent in yesterday’s draw. He did manage to complete 91% of his total passes, but that is misleading as he only attempted 13. In 59 minutes of action, the Scot only had 18 touches. Not the best day, though he did seem to maybe be getting more into the match just as he was subbed off.
CAM: Josh Onomah, Rating: 4.75
Very early on, it looked as if he as well as Albert Adomah and Jonathan Kodjia were going to cause a real threat for Steve Cotterill’s side. The English U20 and Spurs loanee has been very enigmatic this season. That probably should be expected from such a young talent. Unfortunately against the Blues, Onomah did not show why he is highly rated.
ST/RW: Jonathan Kodjia, Rating: 6 (Substituted off, 81st minute)
‘Jimmy Danger’ did look a threat yesterday. The striker had five total attempts on goal, with three being on target. One of those shots on target came in the 79th minute, when in a deserved world, it would have put the claret and blue up 2-0. Unfortunately the attempt went off Birmingham City’s saviour, the woodwork.
In the 81st minute, with supporters surely more optimistic that a winner was coming, the mood was dampened when Kodjia rolled his ankle.
A collective [insert choice words here] was probably espoused after manger Steve Bruce, in his post-match presser, said the following:
“He’s gone over on his ankle, the on he injured over the summer. We’ll see what happened.”
Hopefully it is nothing too serious.
CDM: Mile Jedinak, Rating: 6.25 (MotM) (substitute, 59th minute)
The bearded Australian came on and showed exactly why he should be in the starting XI as soon as he is fully match fit.
In just roughly 36 minutes on the pitch, Jedinak managed a team-leading 11 defensive clearances. Nine of the clearances came via won aerial duels.
He was unquestionably a major midfield presence in last year’s campaign. When he came on yesterday, it gave Conor Hourihane more freedom to naturally push forward. Put Jedinak in front of a what appears to be a solid Championship back line, and Steve Bruce’s side should be capable of plenty more clean sheets going forward.
Could the ‘Man of the Match’ honours possibly be a bit much? Sure, but in limited action, Jedinak (i.e. like his beard game) was pretty damn strong.
ST: Keinan Davis, Rating: 6 (substitute, 74th minute)
The youngster came on in the 74th minute and had an immediate impact. Four minutes in, he was heading to the Villa supporters to celebrate his shot on an open goal. The shot somehow stayed out and Davis ended up with his head in his hands.
He was again brilliant with his hold-up play and passing - he completed 7 out of 7 his passes. Hopefully Davis can move on from that miss and leave any nightmares to the supporters.
Tough luck for the young lad yesterday!
LM: Scott Hogan, Rating: N/A (substitute, 81st minute)
Came on and was played a bit out of position. Hogan has it in him and with the likelihood he’ll be seeing minutes Wednesday night at Deepdale, it sure would nice to see the striker get it going in an Aston Villa shirt.