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Player Ratings: Sheffield United v Aston Villa

After a tough run of fixtures, Aston Villa still couldn’t find their form against Sheffield United

Sheffield United v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

After a poor run of form and a tough run of fixtures, Dean Smith and the Aston Villa Squad were looking forward to the road trip to Bramall Lane and were hoping to get back onto winning ways. The manager made four changes to the starting lineup including handing Kortney Hause a Premier League debut and giving Henri Lansbury his first start of the Season. However, the performance of the squad didn’t pick up and the Villa weren’t able to get a result. With all that being said, let’s see the individual performances within the poor squad. Per usual the ratings are done with a scale from 1-10 with 6 being about average.

Starting XI: GK: Tom Heaton, LB: Matt Targett, CB: Kortney Hause, CB: Bjorn Engels, RB: Frederic Guilbert, CDM: Marvelous Nakamba, CM: Henri Lansbury, CM: John McGinn, LW: Jack Grealish, ST: Wesley, RW: Anwar El Ghazi

Tom Heaton

Tom Heaton sat behind a composed defense for the first 45 minutes of the match and did extremely well marshalling the effort towards the clean sheet. During the Second Half, Heaton had two goals go by him but not due to any mistake on his end. The Sheffield United goals were well played and well taken goals that would have troubled any goalkeeper. Heaton only faced three shots on target, saved one of them, and the other two would have been miracle saves to begin with. Rating: 6

Matt Targett

Matt Targett has generally been a bright spot within the Season thus far but had a rough game this past week. Going forward, Targett had under 70% passing completion and looked stagnated in overlapping. Defensively Targett was taken advantage of and lost 12 duels. Also, both goals featured a mistake from the young fullback. Targett was also found watching the action rather than taking part of it for large parts of the game. The fullback had easily his worst game during this road trip. Rating: 4

Kortney Hause

After having been overlooked for the past few weeks in favor of Ezri Konsa, Dean Smith allowed Hause to have his Premier League debut. Hause looked good for large parts of the game and was a leader of the back line. The young center back was composed and provided an old school approach to the game, opting to clear rather than play the ball and had saved Villa on several occasions. As the game went on the strength of the performance faded but this was still an admirable debut. Rating: 6.5

Bjorn Engels

After having been subbed on last week against Leicester for Tyrone Mings, Bjorn Engels returned to the Starting Lineup after having missed out due to injury. Engels hit the ground running this game and put in a real shift. The Belgian was tasked with marking an inform Lys Mousset and kept him from making an impact upon the game whatsoever. Statistically, the Center Half did well too and won over 75% of his duels. Engels was a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy day in Sheffield. Rating: 7 Man of the Match

Frederic Guilbert

The French fullback didn’t have an outstanding performance on Saturday yet still became Public Enemy Number 1 as far as the Sheffield supporters were concerned. Other than falling due to an elbow to the face, Guilbert had a fairly mundane performance against Sheffield. Going forward, Guilbert didn’t do much to affect the game but had good movement. Defensively, Guilbert was 50/50 for duels on the day and hadn’t fallen victim to the overloads which the Home Team tried to create. Guilbert was okay on the day but had a lot to deal with. Rating: 6

Marvelous Nakamba

In his return to the Starting Lineup, Nakamba was expected to be a destructive force in the middle and vitally important in holding possession. Sheffield United had other plans though as they spent all their times and attacking opportunities on the wings. This made Marvelous a bit redundant as the Midfielder was stuck deep in the box helping with the crosses coming in and the occasional cut inside. This was not a game for Nakamba, to have him featured as long as he was could be seen as a failure on the part of Smith. Rating: 6

Henri Lansbury (Subbed 66’)

Lansbury was handed his first Premier League start since featuring for Arsenal on Saturday. Lansbury did not show the skill as he had within training or previous outings which earned him the spot however. The midfielder was a pedestrian for most of the day and was a great disappointment to me as I really rate the guy. Rating: 4.5

John McGinn

This was the first game in a long time in which I felt that John McGinn was truly doing John McGinn-like things. The Scottish Star was able to hold possession effectively, made a few good attacking runs when the opportunity presented itself, but most importantly just put in a hard-working shift which made the opposition work. Further, McGinn was able to drop deep and show some ability to play box to box at times which could be useful if Deano ever decides to change the system up a bit. Either way, the McGinn we know, and love may be coming back soon, this week definitely showed improvement. Rating: 6.5

Jack Grealish

This was a week in which Jack seemed a bit below his best and seemed to get schemed about by the crafty Sheffield manager. While on the wing, Grealish had more responsibilities back tracking on defense and spreading the back three Center Backs out. Because of this, the talisman disappeared at times and never really put his stamp on the game. In his opportunity to force Villa back into the proceedings, the Penalty was missed and pretty much summed up the Villa performance as a whole. Rating: 6

Wesley (Subbed 69’)

Wesley is clearly, in my opinion, a good striker who needs a partner. During the whole of this game he exhibited decent movement, passing, and at times hold up play, However, he continues to suffer from anemic support for the Striker. During his opportunities where he was facing the goal with the ball, he looked good and got a shot off. With a supporting Striker hopefully, we will see more of those moments. Rating: 6

Anwar El Ghazi (Subbed 80’)

El Ghazi had a very similar performance to Grealish, the only difference in my eyes was the Dutch winger did well to cut inside during the start of the second half, but nothing came from this new movement. Rating: 6


CM: Douglas Luiz (66’), ST: Jonathan Kodjia (69’), RW: Trezeguet (80’)

Douglas Luiz

Douglas Luiz represented a huge improvement from Henri Lansbury, but this is largely due to Lansbury’s performance. Douglas Luiz’s performance was outstandingly average. Rating: 6

Jonathan Kodjia

Kodjia had 5 touches in 20 minutes of action, this performance felt like one from Scott Hogan. Rating: 5


The Egyptian saw out the last 10 minutes and provided a sense of pace to the squad. Rating: N/A