Emiliano Martínez: 9
After coming in from Arsenal in the summer, he immediately claimed it was a step up for his career, which caused many heads to turn in disbelief, Emi has integrated himself in between the sticks of B6. With the help of the four in front of him, he has solidified himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the league whilst currently holding claim to the most clean sheets, despite playing four fewer games than all other competitors. Villa’s Argentine hero has quickly become a fan favourite with his match saving performances proving why the recruitment team did so well to bring him in for such a small fee.
Matty Cash: 9
Another player brought in during the summer to help push the club away from the drop zone and instead break into the top half, Villa signed Matty after he failed to help Nottingham Forest secure a playoff place last season. He pushed Freddie Guilbert out of contention but with good reason. Cash’s performances have been up there with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the ‘Is he ready for England?’ discussion. Once again hats off to the recruitment team on this one in snagging another player instrumental to tightening up the club’s previous leaky defence.
Ahmed Elmohamady: 6
The experienced professional has played both right midfield and right back for Villa this season, although the veteran has made only five appearances in claret and blue, with just one start in a 0–0 draw against Burnley in the absence of Matty Cash. He accumulated only 39 minutes in his other four appearances whilst drawing a blank in the assists and goals department. A reliable option to have on the bench when Villa just wants to see out the game; however, the Egyptian lacks the ability to break into the first team. With his contract slowly running out, enjoy the last few appearances you will get of Elmo.
Tyrone Mings: 8
Aston Villa’s experienced head at the back has helped to solidify his England place with this season’s performances so far adding another name in contention to be on Gareth Southgate’s plane come summer. Mings is a player not afraid to put his body on the line in times of need and a role model within the ranks. Tyrone Mings is the model professional.
Ezri Konsa: 9
A player who struggled for game time in the early stages of the season last year has really found his place alongside Tyrone Mings and made that position truly his own. He may not create many headlines, but he is yet another young English player who goes about his business quietly but does it well, to a remarkably high standard. Observers might be forgiven for believing he’s an experienced head alongside Tyrone Mings.
Kortney Hause: 7
The defender failed to impress last year, with performances on par with the Championship. However, this season he has been called upon four times, conceding one and scoring one in the absence of Tyrone Mings. With another Premier League season under his belt his positioning and decision making has vastly improved, showing Dean Smith and the coaching team that if needed, he should be able to slot into the back four without any concerns.
Matty Targett: 8
A player who often found himself a scapegoat during last year’s troubles at the back, this season Targett has seemingly matured into a much more reliable full back due to his defensive positioning becoming more astute along with his playmaking ability in the midfield improving.
Douglas Luiz: 9
Douglas Luiz is a player who didn’t really come out of his shell until Operation Restart began, but his play in the middle of the park became an integral part of why Villa stayed up last season. He appears to have carried that new lease on life into the new season and often makes people forget just how young he is. If Pep Guardiola and Manchester City can keep their hands off him, in a few years Aston Villa could have one of the most exciting Premier League number 6s on their hands.
Marvelous Nakamba: 6
Due to the assertive performances of Douglas Luiz and John McGinn, Marvelous Nakamba has found on the bench for most of the season, making only four appearances with one start due to the suspension of Douglas Luiz. However, when he’s on the field he does exactly what is asked of him, sitting tight and compact in front of the back four to preserve whatever lead Villa may hold at the time.
Ross Barkley: 7
Ross Barkley must be feeling so hard done by. He arrived on loan from Chelsea and made a fairy-tale start in claret and blue by scoring in the famous 7–2 win against Liverpool before scoring a last-minute winner against Leicester City a few days later. However, since then he has played only three games before being sidelined with a hamstring injury. Once he returns, he’ll be determined to get a decent run in the first team to show his worth as a player.
John McGinn: 9
Ever-present in the starting eleven so far this season, the Scotsman has yet to miss a single minute of league action. He’s formed a South American/Scottish dream partnership with Douglas Luiz, offering the perfect mix of flair and determination, and has made six goal contributions in the form of one goal and five assists. John McGinn does what is asked of him and he does very, very well.
Jack Grealish: 10
Jack Grealish carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, or at least the expectations and dreams of an entire fanbase, and in nearly every game he delivers. It almost defies belief. With the adoration of the fans behind him, there’s nothing to stop Grealish from reaching the very top.
Jacob Ramsey: 7
Boyhood fan Jacob Ramsey broke into the first team this season, earning his Premier League debut in a local derby at the Molineux in a 1–0 win over Wolves, where he looked as though he belonged throughout the 90 minutes. Villa fans anticipate an extremely exciting few years ahead for this lad. Remember the name.
Trézéguet struggled to inspire last season but has since proved his importance to this team, despite struggling for goals and assists this season with just one assist to his name, but not for want of trying. He is crucial against stronger opposition due to his brilliant ability to track back and his defensive efforts when Aston Villa are under the cosh, a trait many top wingers lack.
Bertrand Traoré: 7
Traoré struggled to excel in his early games; however, in the absence of Trézéguet, he has really stepped up to the plate adding big contributions to his goals and assists tally in recent weeks. Traoré still has a lot to prove but he has certainly shown glimpses of how his dancing feet can push Dean Smith’s side up the table.
Anwar El Ghazi: 8
A player who just does not give up, every time El Ghazi steps on to the pitch he looks as though he has a point to prove. He has massively improved upon his number of goals and assists from last year and was arguably robbed of the December Player of the Month Award after five goals in five games.
Keinan Davis: 5
Davis has struggled for league minutes, a viable substitution in the latter stages of a game as he holds up the ball and gets other teammates involved. Maybe a loan move is the way forward for Davis so he can get some regular minutes under his belt which will hopefully help him to find his shooting boots.
Ollie Watkins: 9
Watkins has yet to miss a single minute of league action this season, repaying Dean Smith’s faith in bringing him to Villa Park with six goals and two assists to his name. However, many Villa fans would agree that his goal tally should be higher due to many laughable refereeing decisions robbing him of some crucial goals in claret and blue.