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Player Match Ratings: Villa victorious!


John

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A second win of the season and a second successive home win against Wigan who have been hard to beat at Villa Park in past meetings maintained our 100%-win record yesterday. It gave us two wins at the start of a season for the first time in 19 years.

We have played better than this but for a second time in this fledgling season we showed our resilience by coming back to win after going a goal down. We sit third in the early league table with a game in hand of the early league leaders. Six points from our first two games is an encouraging start and it is something we can and need to build upon.  

Cardiff gained promotion last season by winning close games on a regular basis and by maintaining a winning run that built their confidence. They developed the habit of grabbing late winners and although their football was not pretty it proved annoyingly effective. We have started this season a little like that. We might have lost or drawn a game like this and the last one last season, but we didn’t. Let’s put a run of wins together and stick to those automatic places like a limpet throughout this season.

Wigan looked a decent team yesterday and wins will not come easy against them for this season’s promotion contenders. They will consider themselves unfortunate to leave Villa Park pointless. I hope that a few more teams will feel that way before this season concludes.    

My player ratings from a game that brought us another win as we await more new signings to further strengthen our team are:

Orjan Nyland – 5 – Beaten to the ball on the edge of the box by Powell who won their challenge to prod home Jedinak’s woeful attempted back pass on 41 minutes. Had little chance with their second. Will be working on his kicking and on crosses after this. Needs to be allowed time to acclimatise to his new team and to a new league.   

Axel Tuanzebe – 6 – Substituted on 65 minutes as we were searching for a winner. Gave a competent enough display filling in as a full back but he would be more comfortable and needs to play in the centre of our defence.      

James Chester- 7 – His usual reliable self at the back and was unchallenged when he climbed to head home a nicely placed 13th minute free kick from McGinn to give us our opener. Don’t you just love his new scoreboard photograph by the way?    

Mile Jedinak – 5 – One careless moment tarnished what was otherwise a decent enough defensive display. His awful under hit back pass gifted Powell their equalizer. His place is in the midfield and he should only be used as an emergency central defender. Headed a McGinn free kick wide on 66 minutes.       

Alan Hutton – 7 – Connolly got in front of him to head the ball home on 55 minutes and give Wigan the lead. Got forward well, earning his “Scottish Cafu” chants with a particularly adept 27th minute turn. Ran to the edge of the area before hitting a 46th minute shot that Walton saved comfortably enough and gave his usual fully committed performance.    

Ahmed Elmohamady – 6 – Seems to be an automatic choice. Headed away from the post to safety on 28 minutes. He does produce consistent performances, but this is a position that I feel we should still be looking at strengthening with some urgency.           

Birkir Bjarnason – 7 – Played in the holding midfield role and popped up at the far post in the 94th minute to give us our late winner. A McGinn cross was cleared only as far as Hourihane who hit a sweet cross around the defender who was in front of him that Birikir hit home at the far post.   

Jack Grealish – 8 – Was given little to no protection throughout from the referee who gave Wigan a licence to make uncompromising challenges upon him at will. Jack was his usual impressive self on those occasions that he was not hacked down. How super nice it was to see Jack still in a Villa shirt.

John McGinn – 8 – MOTM – A very impressive debut. He works hard, likes to make a challenge and looks good on the ball. His corner led to our equalizer and his left footed free kick found Chester for our first. Kipre attempted to clear John’s 63rd minute corner but it cannoned off Dunkley’s head into the back of the net for our second. Hit an effort just wide on 73 minutes having had a 33rd minute shot from outside of the area saved by Walton. Looks likely to be another impressive Scot who has appeared for The Hibees before joining us and he follows in the illustrious footsteps of Alex Cropley and Des Bremner.

Andre Green – 6 – Made a couple of decent runs and will get better with a run of games. Hit a 69th minute shot from the edge of the box that Walton kept out. This can be a big season for him.              

Jonathan Kodjia – 4 – Looks a shadow of the player he was before injury. He improved during the second half, but it would have been difficult to have been less effective. Should have found his match fitness by now which was the reason we gave for his lack lustre displays at the end of last season.  Headed a nice McGinn cross over in the 52nd minute and had a 61st minute shot blocked by Walton. Headed a 68th minute Adomah cross wide. Badly in need of a confidence boosting goal or two.

Substitutes:

Albert Adomah – 5 – Came on for Tuanzebe in the 65th minute. Has not looked the same player that did so well for us up until towards the end of last season for some time now.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy - 6– Replaced Green on 74 minutes. Looked keen as well as full of running and pace.

Conor Hourihane - Replaced Kodjia on 87 minutes. I had expected that Conor would start yesterday. Although he was not on long enough to gather a rating he did have time to hit the cross that produced our late winner.  

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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