After seven minutes, it looked like Aston Villa were going to start their campaign for promotion on a flyer. Optimism was abundant amongst the Villa faithful and a high level of positivity remained until the second half whistle blew.
The second half looked far too familiar as Villa stumbled and did not seem to ever get into the match even though they remained on top until the 62nd minute.
There were a lot of decent performances on the pitch for Steve Bruce’s side. Some provided promising signs of what could be if Villa can put together a more consistent 90-minutes.
Here are the full player ratings -- based on a scale of 1 to 10, with five being an average performance -- for Saturday's Hull City draw:
GK: Sam Johnstone, Rating: 6.5
You’d be hard pressed to pin much blame on Villa’s keeper for Jarrod Bowen’s second half goal. Johnstone tallied four total saves including a crucial double save in the first half. He looked comfortable in his box, especially in the first half. Nothing he did in the match would suggest that he couldn’t continue to be a reliable keeper for Villa in this year’s Championship campaign.
RB: Alan Hutton, Rating: 6
Villa had success attacking Hull’s defence down the right flank and Hutton was an integral part of that. His overlapping run and subsequent cross into the box in the 7th minute led to Gabby Agbonhalor’s goal. The Scot has always been known to put in a high level of work when out on the pitch and yesterday’s match was no different. However, his poor clearance and arguably slack defending led to Hull’s tying goal. That sequence detracted from his assist and overall performance.
CB: James Chester, Rating: 7
The Welshman had a strong match pairing alongside John Terry in the centre of Villa’s defence. Chester won a total of 13 aerials. Of that total, 7 were defensive, including a few key clearances in the box when Hull was on the front foot in the second half. He looks to be one half of a great defensive pairing going forward.
CB: John Terry, Rating: 7
So Fraizer Campbell made it clear that Villa’s biggest summer signing and legendary captain has lost a step or two of pace. Even with that said, you couldn’t deny that he was a major presence out on the pitch for Steve Bruce. Terry’s ability to read the game from the centre of defence has not deteriorated. With such an illustrious career, it was no surprise that he was the steward of Villa’s back line. Terry hardly put a foot wrong during his debut. Hopefully he and James Chester remain fit because they can be a formidable duo in the Championship.
LB: Neil Taylor, Rating: 6
In describing Taylor’s performance last season, our writer James Rushton said:
“Neil Taylor didn’t impress, but he didn’t fail the Villa faithful at all. “
That pretty much summed up his performance against Hull. He did demonstrate an ability to whip in an accurate free kick when he found Andre Green in the 80th minute. He could serve to be a steady option for Villa at left back.
RM: Ahmed Elmohamady, Rating: 6.5
Took some stick from the 1,200 Hull City supporters who made the trip to Villa Park. Though in his defence, was he going to feature there? Elmo won as many total aerials as James Chester with 13. He also at times combined well with Alan Hutton down the right. He definitely showcased his vision and ability to pick out a pass or cross into the box. Such abilities could help Villa get more goals this campaign. Overall it was a good enough match from Elmo against his old club.
CM: Glenn Whelan, Rating: 5
It was a mixed bag from the Irishman in midfield. Whelan completed 44 of his 53 passes in the match. While an 83 percent completion rating showed the promise that he can control the middle of the pitch for Villa, his overall performance was too erratic. He had a few giveaways and was dispossessed at times. In addition, Hull City supporters could argue that he was lucky not to be sent off in the second half for a rash challenge while carrying a yellow. Not bad, but far from great yesterday.
CM: Leandro Bacuna, Rating: 4
So Bacuna is a utility man in that he can play all over the pitch if need be. He’s kind of like Villa’s Swiss Army Knife, not a bad tool to have, but not entirely effective in every situation. It seemed like there were quite a few boos in the crowd when he came in the 71st minute. A tad bit harsh this early on, but he certainly did not do a whole lot while on the pitch against Hull.
LM: Gabby Agbonhalor, Rating: 7.5 (Our Man of the Match)
Did Gabby spend this off-season training while listening to Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time?’ Yesterday might well have been his best performance for the Claret (or Royal Magenta according to Under Armour) and Blue in years. His goal in the 7th minute off of Hutton’s cross gave all supporters grandiose hopes of three points. For the rest of the match he demonstrated his improved fitness as well as willingness to get back on defence. Given yesterday’s goal, he should exceed his tally from last season!
CAM: Henri Lansbury, Rating: 5.25
The former Arsenal starlet gets a quarter of a point more than his average midfield counterpart, Glenn Whelan. Like Whelan, he completed most of his passes (75%). He made a good run early on and was through on goal after a Neil Taylor pass. His attempt ended up well wide. He showed a few more flashes of finding himself in a good attacking position. Though Lansbury could do without throwing himself into too many more aerial challenges over the season. His overall performance undoubtedly left some questioning what happened to Conor Hourihane?
ST: Scott Hogan, Rating: 6.5
You have to wonder if Hogan himself left the pitch in the 78th minute thinking what could have been. Hogan made his presence in Hull’s 18-yard box known and had nearly a handful of attempts on goal. He was unlucky to not to score on an open left half of the goal in the 31st minute. The former prolific Brentford striker also put his creativity on display by leaving Hutton’s cross for Gabby and later, playing Villa’s goalscorer in with a clever backheel. Another first half goal would have been excellent and probably deserved. His play was certainly encouraging.
LM: Andre Green, Rating: 6
Much to the delight of the crowd at Villa Park, the young Green came on for Leandro Bacuna in the 71st minute. He was so close to being the hero when he got on the end of Neil Taylor’s free kick. He probably should have put his header away and you could argue that takes away from his rating. But Green showed both his pace down the left as well as a willingness to take on defenders. It might be prudent for Steve Bruce to give the youngster a start in the very near future.
CAM: Josh Onomah, Rating: 5.5
It almost became quite a debut for the Spurs loanee when he latched onto the end of a cross in the 86th minute. Like his fellow young talent, Andre Green, he too probably should have finished the chance to help Villa get three points to start the season. Onomah showed that he is pacy and physically strong for his age. His eight minutes on the pitch was enough to indicate that he can potentially make significant contributions during his time on loan.
ST/CF (?): Chris Samba, Rating: N/A
Apologies for the slightly inappropriate language, but what the hell was that? It’s entirely possible that somewhere Tactics Tim Sherwood was laughing at that manoeuvre (if you want to call the substitution that). To be fair to the Congolese DEFENDER, he did win some headers from long balls. Maybe he was in fact brought in to be a lumbering target man up front, time will tell.