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Player Ratings: Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City - A valiant effort from Gerrard’s men

With all eyes on the return of Jack Grealish to Villa Park, Aston Villa pushed Manchester City until the very end in an encouraging display. Here’s how Cole rated the lads in claret and blue!

Aston Villa v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Emi Martinez: 6/10

Unlucky on the evening as the Argentine was left out to dry on both of Manchester City’s goals in the first half. Aston Villa grew in confidence at the back throughout the game and this writer believes that Martinez was a major component of that with his calm demeanor.

Matty Cash: 7/10

Full of energy on the day and was able handle his defensive duties even with the constant pressure that this City side has to offer. Cash’s commitment to moving the ball forward also allowed for Villa to push deep into City’s half at times.

Ezri Konsa: 7/10

Arguably the better of the two center-backs on the evening and was a major factor in limiting City’s opportunities on goal, which can certainly be plenty!

Tyrone Mings: 6/10

Rather dominant in the air when it came to attacking corner’s, but the Villa captain had a rather up and down game, struggling to cope with the constant pressure from the visitor’s at times. On the other hand, it’s always difficult to mark a City attacker when the likes of Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, and Gabriel Jesus are constaintly swapping positions on the pitch.

Matt Targett: 7/10

Aside from failing to block the away side’s opening goal of the game, the left-back was crucial in terms of how Villa handled defensive matters on the left side of the pitch as he made a number of key tackles before being brought off due to injury.

John McGinn: 6/10

A rather quiet evening from the Scottish international and with Villa’s midfield struggling to cope with City’s attacking prowess at times, McGinn struggled to find space on the pitch to create some of his usual magic.

Marvelous Nakamba: 6/10

Slowly grew into the game and made a number of important tackles throughout.

Douglas Luiz: 7/10

Displayed moments of quality on the ball while playing in a more advanced midfield role compared to his usual defensive midield duties. Delivered an excellent ball into Ollie Watkins in the opening minutes of the second half, which the striker converted to pull Villa back into the game.

Emi Buendia: 7/10

Showed real glimpses of quality while on the ball and put Carney Chukwuemeka clear through on goal, with what would have tied the game at 2-2 if the young midfielder capitalized. Ran with a purpose while out of possession as well and I believe that we’re starting to see the promise the that little Argentine possesses.

Leon Bailey: 5/10

Pulled off at the half-hour mark due to injury, making his impact on the game rather limited. While on the pitch, Bailey failed to move the ball up the pitch on a couple of occasions and decided to take matters into his own hands, which evidentally didn’t pay off. Clearly still coming to terms with the physical demands of the Premier League and it will be interesting to see how he recovers from yet another period on the sidelines.

Ollie Watkins: 8/10

Was absolutely superb when in possession and drew a number of key fouls, which allowed for Villa to move up the pitch and relieve pressure in their own end. Took his goal brilliantly, beating Sterling to Luiz’s corner and hammering it past Ederson in the City goal. A never-ending ball of energy on the evening.


SUBSTITUTES:

Ashley Young (30 mins): 7/10

The 36-year-old put in a real shift at Villa Park and was always mindful when on the ball, which effectively limited the opportunity for a potential City counterattack. Was able to slot in at left-back once Matt Targett was substituted off due to injury and didn’t really put a foot wrong.

Carney Chukwuemeka (66 mins): 6/10

Playing alongside Emi Buendia and slightly off of Watkins, Chukwuemeka nearly benefited from his advanced position on the pitch as he was put through on goal, but was denied by Ederson’s quality save. Another bright performance from the young midfielder.

Morgan Sanson (77 mins): N/A


MAN OF THE MATCH: Ollie Watkins

An absolute workhorse throughout the game, producing moments of quality with the limited amount of opportunities the striker had while on the ball. His strong work ethic was on display for all to see as he tirelessly pressed City’s center-backs throughout the game. The performance should do wonders for his confidence.

Aston Villa v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images