The phrase “...better late than never,” applies to both Henri Lansbury’s goal as well as the breakdown of the individual performances from last Friday night at Elland Road.
Here are the full player ratings -- based on a scale of 1 to 10, -- for the 1-1 draw against Leeds United:
GK: Sam Johnstone, Rating: 5.25
Johnstone did not have a single save and that is a good thing! He was called into action to make a claim or two in his box. Outside of those claims and Pontus Jansson’s headed goal – which he was likely never going to save – Villa’s keeper was not terribly involved in Friday night’s match.
With this, Johnstone gets an above average rating:
LB: Neil Taylor, Rating: 5.75
Due in part to the attacking threat of Ezgjan Alioski, the Welsh left-back was very active in Friday night’s draw. Taylor’s 63 total touches were almost evenly distributed down the left flank.
He managed a total of five clearances, including two inside the 18-yard box. Taylor also completed 67% of his tackles and was important in the buildup to Henri Lansbury’s equalizer. Even though his crossing wasn’t the best, he still had a pretty good outing at Elland Road.
CB: James Chester, Rating: 7
Had the claret and blue failed to take away any points, Chester would have been the ‘Man of the Match.’
He was far and away the best player on the pitch in the first half. By the time the final whistle blew, Villa’s interim captain had compiled impressive match stats:
· Team leading 10 defensive clearances, 8 within the 18-yard box
· Led both sides in successful tackles (75% completion rate)
· 4 defensive aerials
· Won every aerial dual he was involved in (3 for 3)
· Completed 26 of 31 passes (84% success rate)
· 2 defensive interceptions
The Welsh centre-back continues to be Aston Villa’s ironman. He has lived up to the reported £9.3 fee the club paid to West Brom.
CB: Christopher Samba, Rating: 5.25
The big lad’s rather poor marking on a corner led to Jansson’s opener in the 19th minute. That sequence was indicative of what has been more of a team-wide problem with defensive set pieces.
Samba’s lumbering movement can also create scary moments for supporters. However on Friday night, he did improve as the match went on.
Samba finished the match having won all eight of his aerial duals. He also tallied five defensive clearances and was an effective target man on set pieces.
When it comes to Christopher Samba, it seems like supporters should expect both the good and bad.
RB: Alan Hutton, Rating: 5.5
Against Leeds the Scot led the claret and blue with 70 total touches. Defensively he had three clearances, two blocks and two interceptions.
Hutton was involved in a number of hotly contested challenges. Unsurprisingly to all who watched the match, he eventually picked up a yellow in stoppage time.
His pugnacious attitude was actually a welcomed sight after Villa looked listless for most of the match. Based on his awesome choice of costume over the weekend, it seems he is well aware of his reputation:
LM: Albert Adomah, Rating: 5.75 (substituted off, 90th minute)
Credit should be given to Thomas Christiansen’s side as they did well to slow Albert Adomah’s great run of form.
In the first half, Adomah had only 17 total touches. In the second half his involvement increased as he more than doubled his first half touches (i.e. 36).
Outside of Lansbury’s goal, his two weak shots on target were the best opportunities Villa had. Additionally, Adomah also successfully completed 7 of 9 attacking dribbles.
Villans have been spoiled by the Ghanaian’s play of late. His performance on Friday night was not bad by any means.
CM: Conor Hourihane, Rating: 5 (substituted off, 65th minute)
With just 30 touches it was a rather silent night for the Irishman. That said, he just did well enough whilst on the pitch.
Certainly an average outing is not the worst, but it was a wise tactical decision by Steve Bruce to bring him off in the 65th minute.
CM: Glenn Whelan, Rating: 6
Whelan’s play at Elland Road was really indicative of the match as a whole.
He finished the match with the most touches of any of Villa’s midfield or attacking players. Whelan also tallied an impressive eight defensive clearances and won five aerial duals.
Tacking on an 83% pass competition rate, you could say the 33-year-old heated up in the second half and produced a solid outing:
Glenn Whelan has had his damn soup at half-time— James Rushton (@Jamorushton) December 1, 2017
RM: Robert Snodgrass, Rating: 5.5
Against the Whites, he again showed an intent to attack and create. Snodgrass’ linked up with Keinan Davis in the 18th minute and was able to force Felix Wiedwald into a save.
Statistically, for the rest of the match, the Scot did a little bit of everything. He took Villa’s corners and set pieces, but did not manage to create any clear-cut chances with his deliveries.
Like most of his teammates, it was pretty much average from the West Ham loanee.
CAM: Josh Onomah, Rating: 4.75 (substituted off, 65th minute)
After the Second City Derby I wrote this about Josh Onomah:
“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.”
The same words apply to this past Friday’s draw against Leeds.
ST: Keinan Davis, Rating: 5.75
The young striker did well at times to use his strength and hold-up play to create chances. The clearest example of that came in the 33rd minute. He combined those traits with good vision and teed up a chance for Glenn Whelan.
Davis was once again strong in the air as he won three offensive aerial duals. He also led Villa with the most key passes (i.e. 3).
The only thing he has lacked of late is goals. In the latter stages of the match it was evident that he was gassed.
With Villa’s injuries woes in attack, Keinan Davis has done the job shouldering the load up front.
CM: Henri Lansbury, Rating: 7.25 (MotM) (substitute, 65th minute)
With his new haircut, maybe Lansbury was back on the pitch after season four had finished filming?
By order of manager Steve Bruce - the former Forest man came on, and in just six minutes, notched his first goal in an Aston Villa shirt:
It was a good strike from the midfielder. Lansbury was an immediate difference maker. That was enough to earn him ‘Man of the Match’ honours.
CM: Jack Grealish, Rating: 6.75 (substitute, 65th minute)
His appearance at Elland Road marked his 83rd for Aston Villa’s first team. The 22-year-old has always shown an ability to create chances.
When he came on alongside Henri Lansbury, Grealish did just that. It was his ball that played Villa’s goalscorer in. On top of that assist, the young talent was making his presence felt roaming all over the pitch.
After the first half, many supporters wanted him to come on. His play lived up to their expectations.
LM: Ahmed Elmohamady, Rating: N/A (substitute, 90th minute)
Elmo adds depth to the squad and has come on to help Villa preserve points. Whether starting or off the bench, he’s the type of player who certainly can play a part in a promotion push.