Well, another battle of the West Midlands, and another mad, mad match that Aston Villa takes part in. Villa fought for all 90 minutes, and it was Jack Grealish who scored the winner in the 67th minute of the match, but for a summary of the play and all the events, take a look at our recap.
Here’s the match ratings:
Jed Steer—(8)—Didn’t have to do too much today, as a whole. Seemed to command his box well and make sure Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause were organized enough as that pairing in the center of defense. Came out nicely and took a cleat to the chest in the first half, distributed well enough (except for the one that went straight out of bounds in the dying moments). Ended the day with four total saves, Steer now has three consecutive starts, seeing two wins and a draw, with two shutouts and only one goal conceded.
Ahmed Elmohamady—(6)—The good news is the Egyptian was very involved today with 40 passes. Unfortunately, he only had a 57% completion rate, so not a completely great look there. Elmo won his 1v1 battles nicely, going 10/11 on the day in duals, along with three tackles, one clearance, and two fouls won in the defensive half.
Kortney Hause—(7)— Big positive: 11 aerial duals won, 13 in total, really played like a brick wall for most of the day. Two slip-ups almost cost Villa, and bad. His arm into the back of Che Adams sent the forward to the ground in the penalty area, but the referee waved it off. After seeing a handful of replays, there could be no complaints if that was called, honestly. Also, he avoided using his right foot at midfield in possession, and tripped up bringing it to his left and fouled Adams as the last defender and luckily only saw yellow. Solid first outing, all in all
Tyrone Mings—(8)— No complaints here for Tyrone. The man had a hell of an outing, winning 50% of his duals against that physical attacking force of the Blues, and 10 total clearances to keep the clean sheet for the second straight match. The passion is there, the mentality is there, the communication is there, and the ability is there for the loanee from Bournemouth, every week I hope more and more that we sign him after the season.
Neil Taylor—(7)— Quiet night for Taylor, with two unsuccessful crosses, but seeing an 83% passing rate with his 35 completed passes. He technically has the assist for Jack Grealish’s lone goal of the match, so a boost there for the Welshman.
Glenn Whelan—Subbed off for McGinn 63’—(6)— Quiet(ish) night for Whelan as well, with almost no statistics attacking, but seeing the work-horse have 12 recoveries and four clearances. Dictated play in the midfield decently, but I hate to say it because I love Glenn, but I think we’re better off when we have the midfield three of Hourihane-McGinn-Grealish. That was shown today too.
Conor Hourihane—(6)—Just like his Irish counterpart Whelan, Conor Hourihane had a pretty quiet day. Just didn’t really get stuck in defensively, and was never really on the ball in the middle of the pitch, only seeing 25 total passes. Like I said, the midfield as a whole seems to look better with the Hourihane-McGinn pairing and Grealish in front, to allow Hourihane to play a “quarterback” sort of role. Will be interesting to see how Dean Smith plays this looking ahead.
Jack Grealish—Subbed off for Bjarnason 84’—(10)— I don’t think I could not give him a 10 rating. Takes a hack down and a literal punch in the early stages, and is pretty quiet in the first half, all in all. But then comes out in the second half and begins to dominate. Especially when the likes of John McGinn and Andre Green were introduced, the balance of play shifted all the way towards us for a big spell. Created three chances in the match and got a left-footed strike to hit the bottom corner of the net for the winner, and he’s still paving way for his name in Villa history. Man of the match performance for his first day out at St. Andrews, no doubt.
Anwar El Ghazi—(6)— Meh, all in all, for El Ghazi today. Tracked back well as a winger, with three tackles, four duels won, and four recoveries, he was definitely a part of the clean sheet. Unfortunately, this gave up anything Anwar had going forward. Only having 18 total passes and one successful cross, he didn’t necessarily provide much on that end like he has before.
Albert Adomah—Subbed off for Green 63’—(5)— The only player who did less than El Ghazi today was the man on the opposite wing, Uncle Al. To their credit, it seems like that might have been part of the game plan, to focus on tracking back, because Adomah did it nicely a few times too, with six duels won, and four recoveries, but only 13 passes completed, at 1 76% rate, it just shows how little he was involved offensively.
Tammy Abraham—(7)—Consistent. Tammy Abraham, game in and game out, rarely puts a foot wrong. Sure, he’ll have moments where he misses his chance, but if you expect a forward to score every time, I don’t know what to tell ya. When we were struggling to get on the ball, Tammy was the one checking back to receive and keep possession. This wasn’t even one of his better games, at all, looking at statistics. He only connected on 12 passes, and only won four duels , but this is a case of the numbers not necessarily showing what he’s given to us.
John McGinn—On for Whelan 63’—(9)— Giving a 9 to a sub is a bit steep, but when you look at how the game changed with his introduction. I don’t see a way he’s not starting against Forest, with the way he links up with Grealish and allows Hourihane to sit deeper. Held possession and switched the field to Neil Taylor, who then tapped the ball to Jack Grealish for the goal
Andre Green—On for Adomah 63’—(8)—Another sub that made such a big impact dictating the pace of the game. Gave us so much going forward in the last half hour with his fresh legs.
Birkir Bjarnason—On for Grealish 84’—(7)— Hard to come on so late in a game like this one was, especially for a man with the impact that Grealish has. The Icelandic international played well for the ten minutes he was out there, definitely being told to disrupt Blues flow of play, and to defend the lead. He did both of those, with some tactical fouls in the middle of the field, and some blocks in and around our box.
Really, a not-so-hot performance all around from the Claret and Blue, but good enough, they fought hard, and won all three points to do the double and steal all six points from the local rivals over at Small Heath Alliance, to continue the unbeaten run in the league against them. Forever in our shadows, we jump them in the table, and now are only four points off a playoff spot with 10 matches remaining.
UP THE VILLA!