It had been a tumultuous week for many Aston Villa supporters. Two consecutive scoreless draws left a lot of people, including many of our staff, calling for Steve Bruce to get axed like William Wallace.
Yesterday the defiant manager and his squad traveled to South Yorkshire to take on Barnsley knowing full well that a loss would have likely been disastrous in a number of ways.
With standout performances from Albert Adomah and Keinan Davis, Steve Bruce’s side marched to a 3-0 victory. That result, at least temporarily, decreased some of the negativity surrounding the club of late.
Even better, when this news broke during the match…
Collymore provided a reminder that it is pretty good to be a ‘Villain.’
Since yesterday was of some note for the nation of Kazakhstan, we’ll leave it to a prominent Kazakh to sum up Aston Villa’s trip to Barnsley:
Here are the full player ratings -- based on a scale of 1 to 10, with five being an average performance -- for Saturday's 3-0 victory over Barnsley:
GK: Sam Johnstone, Rating: 6.5
Johnstone wasn’t terribly challenged in the match as the Tykes only managed two shots on target, one of which was comfortably collected by Villa’s keeper. A clean sheet on the road and a three-goal victory gets an above average rating in our book. We gave Johnstone a half a point extra for his collection of the trash that was hurled at him. Is that a thing in Barnsley? Can’t think the centre of town looks too good after a Friday or Saturday.
LB: Neil Taylor, Rating: 5.5
Don’t want to sound like a broken record, but once again Taylor just does the job at left-back. He didn’t blow anyone away at Oakwell, but that is by no means a bad thing. The man is a consistent performer in that he has typically put in a decent shift. The Welsh international has seemingly been around for a while, but he’s only 28. That said, he hopefully can remain fit and hold down his post at Aston Villa for the foreseeable future.
CB: James Chester, Rating: 7
‘Chesty’ assisted Adomah’s opener. Granted the argument could be made that it was a bit fortuitous, but nonetheless, his long ball was an assist. Outside of that, at centre-back he and Villa’s captain paired rather well against Barnsley. In the first half they bailed out the fullbacks at times. Chester tallied five defensive aerials won and also had a few vital clearances (11 in total) when the home side was getting the best of the attacking play.
CB: John Terry, Rating: 7
Even though he received this same rating on opening day against Hull, yesterday was probably Terry’s best match in a Villa shirt. The captain showed his uncanny ability to read the play at the heart of a defence. He too won a number of defensive aerials and also led the team with 16 total clearances. Unlike the past two matches, yesterday’s clean sheet was by and large earned by the play of Villa’s defence.
RB: Ahmed Elmohamady, Rating: 6.75
At times in the first half he was caught out of position. However, the Egyptian’s play after the break was much better. The ball he played into the box that allowed Keinan Davis to get his first goal for the club was superb. Prior to the match, Elmo took a lot of stick on social media when he was selected at right-back. After yesterday and his team-leading 73 touches, he deserves a little better. Wouldn’t you know it, the Barnsley supporters continued to hurl trash at him even after the match:
I can't stomach losing to a team that plays Elmohamady as a first choice.— Jonathan Smales (@jonnysmales) September 16, 2017
LM: Albert Adomah, Rating: 8.5 (co-MotM)
After a week in which Steve Bruce didn’t exactly endear himself to the Villa faithful, his decision to finally play the Ghanian was applauded. Adomah seized on Barnsley’s lax defending to get the opener in the 19th minute. He then coolly put away the penalty Keinan Davis earned to grab a brace in the first half. You couldn’t have blamed him if he went full-on Nélson Oliveira yesterday:
CM: Glen Whelan, Rating: 5
Many seemed to be quick to deem the Irishman the clear cut worst player in a Villa shirt yesterday. Analytics would tell you otherwise and to be fair to Whelan, he once again tracked back to help provide cover for the back four. Anytime you see out ninety minutes in a much needed 3-0 road victory, you did at least something right. Though we wouldn’t mind seeing Mile Jedinak’s beard in that spot.
CM: Conor Hourihane, Rating: 6
Outside of the Sky Sports commentator’s obsession with ‘Moneyball,’ was the discussion of Barnsley losing key players from last season. One of those players was Hourihane and we’re more than happy to have him. Yesterday against his former club he put in another another solid performance. Hourihane successfully completed 100% of his five tackles. The guy is a great box-to-box midfielder and if his shot late on had found the back of the net, that would have been the proverbial “icing on the cake.”
RM: Robert Snodgrass, 5.5 (substituted off, 83rd minute)
He and Elmo on the right flank are going to create chances in attack. The Scot did well enough yesterday. Certainly he has to be thrilled that he is getting to feature in his preferred position under Steve Bruce. The only real criticism that could be levied at him after his performance is that he may suffer from a Zoolander-like affliction. Derek can’t turn left well, while Robert may not be able to go to his right.
ST: Jonathan Kodjia, Rating: 6 (substituted off, 61st minute)
This could absolutely be a touch high, but was hard not too have a little bias in this. Seeing ‘Jimmy Danger’ back on the pitch was fantastic. The pairing of him with Keinan Davis up front in a 4-4-2 was a sight for sore eyes. Kodjia obviously wasn’t fully fit, but he showed glimpses of still being every bit the player who created danger for opposing defences last season. Onwards, and hopefully upwards, for both the club as well as the Ivorian striker.
ST: Keinan Davis, Rating: 8.5 (co-MotM) (substituted off, 74th minute)
How was the youngster’s day?
· 30 total touches
· 4 total shots, 3 on target
· Earned a penalty
· Scored his first professional goal
Your answer, brilliant. Davis’ play once again had the 3500 traveling fans in full voice singing “He’s one of our own.”
'Keinan Davis, he's one of our own' sing the #AVFC crowd, not realising that we bought him from Biggleswade Town— James Rushton (@Jamorushton) August 19, 2017
Even with that pointed out, we’ll claim him anyways as his performance yesterday had yours truly channeling Andy Gray.
CAM: Josh Onomah, Rating: 5.75 (substitute, 61st minute)
If you take a look at the stats, Onomah again had an above average outing. In the thirty-two minutes he was on the pitch, he had 20 touches in both halves and also completed 9 out of 10 passes. There is so much to like about Onomah, it’s just a shame Mauricio Ponchettino seems to rate him.
ST: Scott Hogan, Rating: 5 (substitute, 74th minute)
Hogan has only scored one league goal since joining Aston Villa last January. When he came on he looked hungry to get on the score sheet running at Barnsley’s defence. It seems likely that he’ll continue to be used as a substitute. It would be nice if he breaks his Championship duck sooner rather than later.
RM: Birkir Bjarnason, Rating: N/A (substitute, 83rd minute)
A golf clap is owed to this: