I’ll take it, I guess?
A decent Carabao Cup performance saw Connor Hourihane scoring the winner in the 77th minute, and sending Aston Villa though to Round Two. Bit of a different squad than we’ve seen thus far, so it is definitely one to take note of individual performances!
Andre Moreira—(7)— A very mediocre debut for Moreira, but gets a high grade because credit is given where credit is due, and he saved a PK, keeping us level at 0-0. Some weird, nonchalant kicks ended up putting us in dangerous situations, or just losing possession, but he commanded the box 'well' with some punches. A bit fortunate for the scramble in our box to be called a no-goal, though. Think Nyland will stay the starter barring some big error or something for now, but a decent debut all-in-all for the Atletico loanee. Would be a 4-5 rating, but a 7 including the pen save is fair.
Ritchie De Laet—(7)—Hate to be bland here with another 7 rating, but De Laet had a solid showing, doing a lot well and not a lot wrong. Nothing too dangerous or outstanding so couldn’t give higher than a 7, but definitely a good outing for Ritchie and now has a shout to be a starter on that flank.
Axel Tuanzebe—(6)—Might be a bit harsh here, but had a few times where he didn’t look so confident 1v1 defending, but also had moments like clearing the ball off the line and keeping it level at 0’s. Definitely more comfortable to run a full 90’ at the centre-back position, I like him to be paired with Chester in our main XI.
Tommy Elphick—(6)—Nothing too special for Tommy on the day, and ended up conceding a penalty. It was soft, very soft, but it still happened. He got bailed out by the ensuing save, and didn’t do enough of note to earn higher than an 8, and with this penalty given he dropped to a 6. He has definitely proven he’s not a god-awful option now, too.
Neil Taylor—(6)—Such a boring rating scale so far, I KNOW. It wasn’t meant to happen this way, but it sort of shows just how this game went. Not a great outing, but still finding a way to advance. Neil Taylor had a decent outing, some solid attacks started by him, but I definitely do not see him having a starting role week in, week out. I’m more than fine with him being an option for these cup games, but De Laet, Hutton, and Elmo have all proven to probably be better options out wide in the back.
Glenn Whelan—(5)—It could just be me, but it seems as if Bruce is playing Whelan and Birkir in the wrong games. This was a game that BB could’ve ran the midfield, ending Yeovil attacks, and starting Villa’s, but instead went with Whelan who creates no chances, won one tackle, and had three clearances. Not sure if that is what you want away, in a cup tie, that we’re the superior side in. Once again nothing horrible by Whelan today, just nothing of note from the centre of midfield.
Connor Hourihane—(8)—In our 7500 to Holte Preseason Round-table, some of us (including myself) thought that other than Grealish, Hourihane would have the biggest impact for our side. He provided the winning assist against Wigan and now the winning goal in this Cup. Good pre-season form translating to the league could mean good news for Villa if Hourihane can consistently find his way to the XI with McGinn now arriving too.
Jake Doyle-Hayes—Subbed off for Grealish in 57’—(6)—Great to see Brucie including the youngsters in matches like this. Doyle-Hayes had a decent outing, but a dumb yellow right on the brink of halftime saw him subbed out a little earlier in the second half than he probably would have liked. Not too great of an outing, but like most others, nothing too bad to note/dock points.
Andre Green—Subbed off for Bree in 83’—(8)—Our best attacking force throughout this game. From the wing would cut in and send a solid pass in, or have a shot for himself. A few fouls won in the attacking third, as well. Some very, very good things to come from Andre if he keeps this form up.
Albert Adomah—(7)—Average game for Uncle Al, as well. He keeps our shape and width so well, but was not super dangerous today. Provides that great width to spread the middle of the field for our creative center-mids, but when there’s not an attacking force to win headers, he doesn’t seem to cross the ball. Still, good enough outing from Albert.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy—Subbed off for Kodjia in 58’—(6)—Would’ve definitely liked to see RHM on the ball more today as the striker. Definitely needed to sub Kodjia on to give us some sort of attacking threat, but you can see RHM has the right mindset when it comes to the runs he’s making. Another one to keep an eye out for in cup match-ups like these.
Jack Grealish—Subbed on for Doyle-Hayes in 57’—(8)—Super Jack proves his worth yet again, coming on for 30+ minutes, and creating more chances in that than almost our whole 90’. 3 fouls drawn, one absolute rocket off the crossbar from 25-30 yards out, and just being the engine to our attack in general. Love me some Jacky Grealish, absolutely gonna be our star this season.
Jonathan Kodjia—Subbed on for Hepburn-Murphy in 58’—(8)—After I was getting really frustrated just watching how frustrated Jimmy Danger was getting time and time again, he did what he does best and beat a defender 1v1, got in a dangerous position turning the corner, and released it quick enough to find Hourihane far-post for the winner. If he can do this more often, rather than just trying to force perfection or a good look, Kodjia looks to be a real attacking threat once again. Hopefully this assist broke the seal for him and he’ll find his form here on out.
James Bree—Subbed on for Andre Green in 83’—(N/A)
New Kits—(10)—May get hate from some here, but I love this kit as a third kit. It was described as “forward,” and it’s exactly that. Definitely getting myself one of them. Stunning 10/10.
Steve Bruce—(10/5)—Had to do my standard “cheat the system” rating. I’ll give Bruce a shoutout this game because he has a solid rotation and used it today, giving chances to youngsters that fans wanted to see, and to be fair, when it wasn’t going so well, Grealish and Kodjia were great substitutions to come on and win the game. The 5, however, is for the boring-ass style of play we keep showing, with a squad way too good to be playing whatever this is supposed to be. Yes, it’s getting the results, but we could do it with more ease if we play the way we could play. Can’t moan too much in the slightest, though, because we’re 3 games into the season and have all 3 wins.
Overall Performance—(7)—In case you couldn’t have guessed this, almost everything was like a 6-7 this match, from start to finish it was a battle to watch the full 90’. Boring football, but away wins are away wins, and once again, we did what was needed to advance, not much more!
Best start to the season since 1962, and now let’s see if this Villa squad can have what it takes to go week to week, winning games we should be winning. UTV!