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Found 186 results

  1. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  2. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  3. Goals from Tammy Abraham and Yannick Bolasie on their home debuts gave us a much-needed win last night. This was not a scintillating performance from us. Our visitors rarely threatened our brittle defence and we eased to a routine victory without looking particularly good. The win was comfortable enough and it was achieved without us having to hit our stride. We didn’t look fluent last night, and we have a team of individuals that have yet to become a team but when that does happen the rest of the league had better beware because we have some pretty good individuals. Last night’s win gives the team something to build upon and it has lifted us up to sixth in the table. That is not too shabby given our performances to date. Another win on Saturday could give the team an opportunity to put together a string of positive results that could in turn cement our place in the top six and install some much-needed confidence into them. We played 4-2-4 last night which was a good and unexpected decision. The Millers arrived at Villa Park looking to take a point. They didn’t really look like doing so once we went in front but until Bolasie headed home our second there was always a danger that they would steal a point with an equalizer against the run of play as Reading had done before them. One goal is never a comfortable lead and we really need to kick on once we go in front so that our games do not always go down to the wire. Wood was too close for comfort on 77 minutes with a header that went wide of the post, but our second goal thankfully made the game safe just 2 minutes later. This result will temporarily ease some of the pressure at Villa Park. The rare clean sheet will show our defence that it is not impossible to go through a game without conceding as will our two goals demonstrate that if we make the chances we have the players who can take them. We are not yet a well oiled smoothly running promotion machine, but we might yet in the fullness of time become one. My player ratings from a run of the mill win against The Millers are: Orjan Nyland – 6 – A quiet event free evening. Ahmed Elmohamady – 6 – Did well on dropping back to a role that I consider that he is more suited to also chipped in with a pin point cross that resulted in our second. James Chester- 6 – Solid on those occasions that our defence was tested. Headed wide from a McGinn cross on 64 minutes. Mile Jedinak – 6 – A quiet night for our defence but he was commanding in the air and did well in this central defensive role that we insist in playing him in on this occasion. Headed an 81st minute Bolasie corner harmlessly wide. Will Mile be rested for Axel on Saturday if we choose to try a little squad rotation? Alan Hutton – 6 – Another reliable performance on the left. Anwar El Ghazi – 6 – Substituted on 73 minutes having given a decent enough display. Conor Hourihane – 7 – Earned his place with that free-kick at Blackburn and performed well on his merited return to our starting line-up. Hit a 45th minute free-kick wide of the post. Hit a 66th minute shot that Rodak kept out at his near post. Jack Grealish – 7 – Some welcome signs of a return to form last night. Could it be that he had needed some time to become familiar with having other players around him that can make things happen as well as himself? He is also not seeing as much of the ball as he was and may need time to become more accustomed to his current role. Nicely found by Kodjia but his 19th minute shot went past the far post and Abraham was just unable to reach it to turn it in. Curled a 72nd minute shot just wide of the far post. John McGinn – 8 – MOTM – A determined ball winner and he uses it so very well. Had an 87th minute shot from the edge of the box gathered by Rodak. Comfortably our most valuable player last night. Tammy Abraham – 7 – Looked sharp, pacey and keen. Scored our opener on 27 minutes. Grealish found Kodjia on the edge of the box who played a sweet ball past 2 defenders to Tammy who hit the ball past the keeper and into the corner of the net. He did some nice work prior to finding El Ghazi who hit the ball onto the netting on the top of the goal on 15 minutes. He looked very good and will get better. Jonathan Kodjia – 7 – Showed some nice touches and his partnership with Abraham looks to have some potential. Had a decent 1st minute cross pushed away by Rodak who also kept out his attempt to convert McGinn’s cross from close range 3 minutes later. Headed an 18th minute Grealish cross over the bar. Substitutes: Yannick Bolasie – 6 – Came on for El Ghazi on 73 minutes and sealed the win with a determined 82nd minute diving header from a nice Elmo cross. Looks ready for a start on Saturday. Albert Adomah – Replaced Kodjia on 81 minutes. Not on long enough to earn a rating. James Bree - Replaced Abraham on 86 minutes. Not on long enough to gather a rating but it is nice to know he is still in contention for a place. Up the Villa!
  4. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  5. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  6. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  7. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  8. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  9. One goal is often not enough and so it proved yesterday. Up until Reading’s late equalizer it had looked like we had done just enough to get a win and “just enough” appeared to be all that we had thought that we would need to do. Our defence is however porous, and we were not capable of closing out yesterday’s game. We have not managed to keep a clean sheet in the league so far this season. That is a feat that we achieved 16 times last season. Our defence, which was so well organised back then with John Terry in it is now crying out for reinforcement, but time is fast running out for us to bring players in. There was the usual late, late goal at Villa Park yesterday but this time it was our visitors who scored it. We are now four points worse off against the opponents that we have played this season when compared to last season’s results and that is how far we are behind the early pace setters Leeds and Boro. We cannot rely on making up ground lost early in the season on those teams that are in the automatic promotion places now. We need to close the gap between us quickly before it grows into a chasm. This was a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show. Our best display of this new season against Brentford was followed by this poor display. We still have our unbeaten record, but this draw feels like a defeat. We seemed to approach this game expecting to win it. We need to go at the throat of teams from start to end to earn a victory and not sit back waiting for it to happen. We regularly need to hit fourth gear rather than coast in second. Any team has a puncher’s chance of getting something from a game when there is only a goal in it. We may have had the possession, but we didn’t do enough with it. It is no good raising your game against the better teams in this division and dropping points against the rest. Three points is three points after all and at the final reckoning a win no matter who it came against will remain three points. That 3 points will go towards the final points total that we will need to achieve to finish in the top two. That needs to be our target as we know the play off lottery offers no guarantee of promotion. Reading will be happy with a point for their coming battle to remain in this division. They showed little ambition up front until we went a goal ahead but score they did as have every other side we have met in the league to date. We cannot be satisfied with a point. We dropped points last season in games like this one at Villa Park. We have got to start producing our best on a consistent basis against every team that we face this season because if we do not teams will punish us for not doing so. We cannot afford to take any opponent lightly in this league nor should we or we will risk facing another season in it. My player ratings from a game that brought us a disappointing third successive draw are: Orjan Nyland – 7 – We may have found a keeper after all. Blocked a close-range effort from a corner by Moore on 44 minutes and then saved a 46th minute Bacuna freekick at his left-hand post. Made a tremendous double save on 82 minutes from Baldock at close range and then from Meite who hit the rebound. Dived to his right and Baldock hit his disputed penalty into the centre of the goal for their late equalizer. Axel Tuanzebe – 6 – Another competent performance in what is unlikely to prove his most effective defensive position. James Chester- 6 – One rare error from him cost us dearly yesterday. James had looked a clear favourite to reach a ball into the box first in the 3rd Minute of stoppage time but was outpaced by Sims. Their substitute took the opportunity to crumple to the floor with time running out for his side after Chester had won the ball but our captain in going to ground unnecessarily gave the referee a decision to make and he gave the benefit of any doubt to them. James was otherwise his usual steady self on those occasions that our visitors ventured towards our goal. He was unlucky to see a 12th minute header thunder off the crossbar from a nice Elmo cross. Mile Jedinak – 6 – Allowed a Sims cross to go past him and only a terrific double save from Nyland prevented Reading from scoring as a result on 82 minutes. Otherwise gave a decent enough performance but this should not be accepted as being his long-term role. Alan Hutton – 6 – Gave his usual consistent level of performance. Ahmed Elmohamady – 7 – Stooped to head home El Ghazi’s perfect cross on 51 minutes and had a good all-around game. Birkir Bjarnason – 7 – Made a good saving tackle on the edge of the box on 9 minutes winning the ball when an opponent was in a threatening position. Gave a very good solid performance throughout. Jack Grealish – 6 – Substituted at half time having picked up a dead leg. Hit an effort back across the face of the goal on 41 minutes. John McGinn – 7 – MOTM – Looked a class above. Used the ball well and kept very involved. Made an early run into the box but his 1st minute shot was held by Mannone. Anwar El Ghazi – 7 – A promising debut. Looks a wide threat, comfortable on the ball and showed a few tricks. Hit a pin point cross for our goal. Made a nice run into the box on 11 minutes and his shot was deflected into the side netting off Mannone. Anwar made way for Albert on 67 minutes. Jonathan Kodjia – 5 –What a difference a couple of days can make. From a man of the match 2-goal performance in midweek to this sort of below par display again. Johnny Danger needs some sort of competition for his starting place and was sadly something less than dangerous yesterday. Did not have a great deal of service perhaps but he can do better than this. Flashed a shot over the bar on 62 minutes when others were better placed had he looked to find them. Lost the ball when looking to go it alone on 85 minutes when Hourihane was waiting unmarked inside the box. Substitutes: Conor Hourihane – 6 – Came on for Jack at half time and did well. We need to try to find a place for him in the starting line-up. His goals come in handy after all. Hit a shot from the edge of the box on 50 minutes that Mannone collected comfortably and was found by Adomah inside the box in the 69th minute but he hit his shot wide of the far post. Albert Adomah – 6 - Replaced El Ghazi on 67 minutes. Made a couple of decent runs and looked lively. Cut inside and hit a 73rd minute shot that was easily gathered by Mannone at the near post and then scuffed a shot 3 minutes later. Neil Taylor - Replaced Kodjia on 91 minutes. Not on long enough to gather a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  10. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  11. Another late, late goal at Villa Park averted a travesty of justice last night. It gave us the very least we had deserved from a game that we had dominated until our visitors belatedly came into it during the last quarter with us by then having apparently punched ourselves out. This was our best display of the season by some distance, but it had appeared until Kodjia’s second equalizer of the game that we would somehow emerge pointless from it. We have shown a never say die attitude already this season though and we managed to lift ourselves up from the canvas as time was fast running out to land a heavy blow that maintained our unbeaten record. We have now drawn our last three home games against The Bees and this point may prove vital at the end of the season when the promotion places are decided. Our visitors have not lost at Villa Park since 1946 and they have clearly become a bogey team to us. They have made an impressive start to the season and may well end it in the top six. Whether they do or do not, they will be unlikely to be more relieved than they were last night to have emerged with a point from any of their remaining fixtures. Our defence does currently remain a cause for concern. Maupay was left in space for their opener and had it not been for Nyland the visitors could have had more than two goals despite Villa having enjoyed the lion’s share of the game. We need to get back to last season when our defence was a strength rather than a weakness. Signing a left back and a central defender is likely to achieve that dare I suggest JT once again for the central defensive role? We started strongly, pegged them back in their own half for long periods and denied them the opportunity to put their own stamp onto the game. There were encouraging shades of our best home performances of last season about last night’s game. We now sit in fifth place with 8 points from our first four games. A win on Saturday will give our team which is steadily being reinforced something to build upon. Maupay’s first goal was against the run of play and he should not have been on the pitch by then having cynically stamped on McGinn to have scored their second which might have won it for them. Had it done so it would have been a case of twilight robbery. My player ratings from a game that our visitors are likely to have been more relieved to have taken a point from than disappointed to have not taken all three from are: Orjan Nyland – 7 – A much improved display. This game can give him the confidence he needs. Conceded two goals but he had no chance with the first and did well to turn a 71st minute Yennaris shot around his right-hand post before Watkins beat Tuanzebe on 82 minutes and hit a shot that Orjan parried which then fell to Maupay to force home for their second on the line. Kept them within range with crucial saves on 84 and 89 minutes when blocking a Yennaris header from 6 yards out and then a close range Maupay shot. Axel Tuanzebe – 6 – Substituted on 70 minutes. Did very well for a central defender who was playing as a full back and put in a couple of decent crosses. Did well to rob the ball away from Maupay on 11 minutes inside of the box. May well grow into this position but more likely to do so more easily and quickly in a central role. James Chester- 7 – Solid and dependable once again. Headed a McGinn free kick that took a deflection off a defender over. Mile Jedinak – 5 – A wayward backward header on 49 minutes from a couple of yards inside his own half fell to Maupay who under pressure from Chester as he ran forward was unable to get a shot in before Nyland came out to claim the ball at his feet. Otherwise did well enough in his extended outing as a holding midfield player playing as an emergency central defender. Headed a 30th minute McGinn corner back across the goal but nobody was near the goal line to put it in. Alan Hutton – 6 – Beaten to the ball on the line for their second. Alan was his usual reliable self. Ahmed Elmohamady – 6 – Did well enough but he is playing too far forward for me. Glenn Whelan – 7 – Did well tidying up at the back. Gave a good solid performance last night. Jack Grealish – 8 – Was upended on a regular basis throughout the game as is too often the case. Nevertheless, Jack still showed his class and would have been able to do so more frequently had he had a modicum of protection from the match officials. Hit a 15th minute shot from the edge of the area that Bentley saved low to his right and had a shot blocked by him 4 minutes later. Jack picked up the ball and ran into the area on 56 minutes, but his cross was blocked by Bentley at the near post. John McGinn – 8 – Another fine display by our Scottish Iniesta. Played a nice one two with Adomah on the 2nd minute and stretched to hit his shot just over the bar. Combines very well with Jack. Albert Adomah – 6 – A better performance than of late. Couldn’t quite get a touch at the near post to a nice 19th minute Elmohamady cross. Jonathan Kodjia – 9 – MOTM – Two vital goals and gave his best display by a country mile since injury interrupted his career. Showed his strength and ability to shield the ball. McGinn played a lovely ball through to him on 36 minutes and he hit a fierce shot which Bentley saved having got himself into a shooting position on the edge of the box. Hit his first on 39 minutes beating Konsa on the edge of the box having been found by Adomah and cutting inside the box from the left before pulling the trigger and hitting the ball in between Bentley and his near post. Turned a nice 59th minute Adomah cross straight at Bentley. Added a second equalizer in the last minute of stoppage time. Elmo played a ball into the box that took a deflection off a defender’s head before Jonathan powered a header past Bentley and into the net. Substitutes: Andre Green – 5 – Came on for Tuanzebe in the 70th minute. Not his best 25 minutes in claret & blue but he will make bigger impressions on games this season and needs to continue to get regular game time albeit mostly now it seems from off the bench. Conor Hourihane - Replaced Whelan on 83 minutes. Not on long enough to gather a rating. I would have him starting games. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy - Replaced Tuanzebe on 85 minutes. He was not on long enough to earn a rating either. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  12. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  13. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  14. 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
  15. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  16. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  17. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  18. Aston Villa with nothing to play for save their pride and their fans played their part in defending the integrity of the EFL by not surrendering meekly to a team that needed a win as had Huddersfield last weekend for example. We were reduced to ten men in the 63rd minute when the referee decided the penalty they converted was not quite enough punishment for Baker so it then appeared Brighton were set for the win that they needed to clinch the title. However, their wild goal celebrations proved to be somewhat premature because 10-man Villa kept at it and Grealish hit a late equalizer that handed the trophy to Newcastle. The sorrowful reaction of the Brighton players at the end showed how much the game had mattered to them. No doubt Newcastle fans will accept that we played a major role in bringing them the trophy they collected yesterday and will stop whingeing about our football club for a short time as a result? We finished the season with a plucky point but in the bottom half of the table, albeit top of that bottom half. We now face a vitally important summer during which Steve Bruce will need to make the changes necessary to gather the extra thirtysomething points we will need to secure automatic promotion next season. What yesterday’s game did prove is that in games against Brighton this season there has not been a great deal to choose between the two teams (although it is arguable that we produced our two best performances of the season against them). Brighton who have been promoted have had the consistency that we have lacked and have not had the runs of bad results and poor performances that have blighted our season and cost us any hope we once had of joining them in the top flight next season. Respect is also due to the Seagulls fans who applauded at the right moments, showed appropriate respect and resisted any temptation there may have been to remind us of our under-achievement during this season. Enjoy your return to the top flight and I hope we will join you next season. The highlight of yesterday for me was the half-time appearance of Villa heroes’ Peter McParland and Nigel Sims 60 years on from their 1957 FA Cup win against the Busby Babes. I really hope that we can lift that trophy again for them soon as this is the longest time our club has gone without winning it by some distance. On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to add my late friend Peter Wyper to the list of Villains that we have sadly lost during this season. Pete was a life-long Villa fan who was among those that cheered the 57 cup winners on their return to the city from Wembley. Pete passed away yesterday evening following a lengthy battle with illness. He will be much missed by his family and friends – HEITS. My player ratings from our last game of this disappointing season are: Sam Johnstone – 6 – Was sent the wrong way from the spot but had earlier did very well on the 58th minute to block a shot from Baldock with his legs after the forward had got the better of Baker. Sam also did well to keep out a 77th minute shot from Bruno. If that was to be his last game for us it was a decent one but will it prove to be given he has now found his confidence with us? James Bree – 6 – Was found on the edge of the box by Bacuna on 78 minutes and his shot was deflected just over the bar. James Chester - 7 – Solid enough at the back as usual and is becoming a threat up front. Nathan Baker – 5 – Given his marching orders a little too readily for me in the 63rd minute when he clipped the heel of Baldock as he was pulling the trigger having reacted slower to a header on than the forward had. Neil Taylor – 7 – A good solid overall performance that was his best for us to date for me. Albert Adomah – 4 – Did the best of what work he did when they had the ball. His impact up front was once again only minimal prior to his 61st minute substitution. He is capable of doing a lot more than he did yesterday and than he has done of late. Henri Lansbury – 6 – Hit a decent 13th minute shot from around 30 yards that Stockdale pushed wide for a corner low at his left-hand post. He really should have put us ahead 7 minutes later when Pocognoli chested a Taylor cross back across the face of the goal to him but he turned his header inches wide of the far post with the goal gaping before him. Nice to see both Henri and Hourihane getting forward more often than has recently been the case and they can become a very effective midfield pairing with a pre-season behind them. Conor Hourihane - 7 – MOTM - Bent a free-kick around the wall in the 2nd minute of first half stoppage time which Stockdale did well to turn around his post. Hit a 56th minute shot from outside of the box that Stockdale got down low at his left-hand post to keep out and 2 minutes later Davis played the ball back to him inside the box and his shot was again saved by the keeper low at the far post. Eventually took an 85th minute free-kick from the edge of the box following Bacuna’s shenanigans that forced a save from Stockdale. Leandro Bacuna – 5 – Showed the same lack of discipline that led to his recent suspension for getting in the face of a linesman again yesterday when twice forcibly demanding the ball at free-kicks from Hourihane. When did he last score from a free-kick and what leads him to think that he should be in line to take a free-kick ahead of Conor (who tends to force a save rather than prod the ball into the defensive wall)? His petulance was more striking for me than what impact he otherwise had on the game yesterday. Will his name still be found on the team sheet next season or will his long-awaited move to a Champions League team actually happen? Jordan Amavi – 6 – Did well enough playing once again in an advanced role. Scott Hogan – 5 – Pounced on a sloppy half-hit 34th minute back pass from Pocognoli hitting a shot from inside of the box that was deflected just wide by Stockdale’s outstretched leg. Worryingly limped off the field following a clumsy challenge by Sidwell that the referee chose not to show any card for. Substitutes: Keinan Davis – 7 – Replaced Hogan in the 2nd minute of first half stoppage time and showed some promise for the future during the second half. Lansbury played a ball into the box for him to run onto on 50 minutes but penalty appeals were ignored by both the referee and his assistant when Dunk slid in to take Davis rather than the ball. He was not quite able to force the ball home near the goal line after Amavi had headed the resulting corner towards Chester at the far post who in turn had headed the ball goalward. Grealish hit a 69th minute cross and having turned nicely he hit a shot that forced a save from Stockdale. Had an opportunity to win the game when the ball fell to him off a defender with a minute of stoppage time remaining. Keinan ran to the edge of the box but his shot was a weak one and was easily held by a relieved Stockdale. Jack Grealish – 7 - Replaced Adomah on 61 minutes. Hit our late equalizer on the 89th minute. Taylor played the ball to him near the edge of the box and his curled shot went past a couple of defenders as well as remarkably keeper Stockdale who was left on his knees having failed to get anything on the ball as it went past him. This was a clear step up on some recent displays from Jack. Tommy Elphick – 5 - Replaced Amavi on 65 minutes. Half hit a 68th minute back pass that Murray ran onto before playing the ball unselfishly back to Baldock who saved Tommy’s blushes by making a hash of the scoring opportunity which left the ball being played clear after it hit Chester’s leg rather than the back of the net. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  19. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  20. limpid

    Ratings & Reactions: Villa v SHA

    Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  21. This was a dire game. Our visitors from the dark side of the city showed exactly why they are in real danger of relegation and we showed why we were unable to sustain a promotion challenge this season. But sometimes winning is everything! Small Heath needed a win but they were not good enough to get one or a draw! We needed to put on a show for those 38,000 Villa fans that paid good money to witness this local derby but we lacked either the ability or the desire to put our opponents to the sword in the way that we had hoped we would. This was some way off being an end to end derby that will stick in our memories like some have in the past but the win will always be there on paper as will the impact it may ultimately have on the final league table. The game was drifting towards a goalless draw before the introduction of Small Heath’s nemesis Gabby with just 31 minutes remaining. His introduction enthused the Villa fans or was it the Villa fans that inspired him to produce a match-winning performance? How our win and the fact that Gabby scored it with his first goal in 14 months must have rubbed salt into the wounds for our neighbours. They now need points from their two remaining games of the season or failing that favours from the teams that Blackburn (who are currently 2 points behind them) have left to play if they are to avoid the drop. Given we are Blackburn’s next opponents I’m sure that we will do everything we can to help them in their latest relegation battle. Should they sadly fail in that battle and we therefore lose the opportunity to play them next season I’m sure we will not take any pleasure whatsoever from that. This win takes us back into the top half of the table, takes us over 60 points, extends our unbeaten league run against Bloose to 7-games and secures our rightful position as the cream of Brum. My player ratings from a game before which we paid our respects to Ugo and after which the players celebrated a derby win with some gusto as did we are: Sam Johnstone – 6 – Seldom had any cause for concern but will have been relieved when Adams hit the best opportunity of the first half well over. Kept a 64th minute on-target effort from inside the box from Davis out with an outstretched hand. Alan Hutton – 6 – Worked hard, wanted the win and once again demonstrated that he is comfortable at this level. James Chester - 7 – Has had busier days but he held the defence together when needed and made his usual timely interventions. Headed a 63rd minute Lansbury free-kick well over the bar and played a part in the goal as did Baker and Hogan. Nathan Baker – 7 – Commanding in the air today. His position is undoubtedly in the centre of the defence alongside Chester asking him to do anything else lessens his effectiveness markedly. Neil Taylor – 7 – We looked much more assured at the back on his return. Albert Adomah – 4 – This was another game that passed him by and we need to see so much more from him particularly in the final third of the field if he is to merit the starting place he was again given today. Henri Lansbury – 6 – Worked hard to secure the win but we really do need to work at getting the goals from him that he was able to produce for fun at Forest by next season by giving him the freedom to get forward more. Mile Jedinak - 7 – So solid in the middle today. Made several strong challenges and won many a ball in the air with consummate ease. Leandro Bacuna – 4 – Astonishing to see him start with Hourihane left on the bench. I struggle to see what he brought to the team today that Conor would not have been able to. Jack Grealish – 5 – As a local lad I had expected much more from him today but he was given little space by the opposition and seemed reticent to make the sort of forward runs he is capable of prior to his substitution. Scott Hogan – 5 – Suffered from a lack of service but did little to worry the defenders he came up against and showed that he needs a striker alongside him. Headed a 15th minute Bacuna cross wide that he stretched for but was unable to get high enough to direct. Substitutes: Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – MOTM - Replaced Grealish on 59 minutes. He really was up for this one and he made the difference with this brief reprise of the sort of performance he once produced for us. He ran after lost causes like the Duracell bunny, won balls in the air and scored our sweet winner and his 5th goal against Small Heath on 68 minutes. Baker won the ball from a Lansbury corner which was then headed on by Chester before Baker headed on a partial clearance and Hogan got a slight touch on it before it fell to Gabby who moving back onto it clipped the ball into the top corner of the net with aplomb. Gary Gardner – Replaced Adomah on 75 minutes. Not on quite long enough to earn a rating but showed a willingness to chase the ball down more than once. Conor Hourihane – Replaced Hogan on 83 minutes. He needs to start games and as is the case with Lansbury we need to get him to the level he was consistently performing at with his former club by the start of next season. Not on long enough to gather a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  22. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  23. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  24. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  25. limpid

    Ratings & Reactions: Villa v QPR

    Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.