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  1. Theo has signed a permanent deal with Southampton on a free
  2. Yep. We are doing a Leicester. Makes as much sense as anything right now. 3 points clear of Man Utd already
  3. Tried to find an existing thread for this but couldn't find one. First team players that we see depart Villa this summer is looking likely of: Heaton - Contract Expiring Kalinic - Sold Guillbert - Sold or Loaned Elmohamedy - Contract Expiring Engels - Sold Taylor - Contract expiring Hourihane - Sold Barkley* - Loan Ends Ramsey - Loaned out Davis - Loaned out Samatta - Sold to Fenerbache once loan ends. I also wonder if we will sell either Trezeguet or El Ghazi?
  4. Just the one confirmed so far with Jack Clarke joining Yeovil Town on a season long loan. They finished 4th in the National League last season, losing to Barnet in the Play-offs. Clarke is 21 and has made an appearance for the Irish U/18s back in 2016. Unfortunately I can't find any info on how long he is contracted to AVFC for.
  5. EDITED - SEEMS LIKE THE SPORTPESA THING WAS EITHER A RED HERRING OR CHANGED TACK. Not sure where else to post this ... From the dodgiest of sources as well but just sharing ... https://tbrfootball.com/aston-villa-reportedly-set-for-new-sponsors-with-everton-dropped-sportpesa-stepping-up/
  6. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. A mod will add the players to the MoTM poll later.
  7. Saturday Championship Brentford v Swansea Sunday League 1 Blackpool v Lincoln Monday League 2 Morecambe v Newport All games on SS3 & all 3 games kick off 3pm
  8. After a mix of the sublime and the not so sublime, but overall a very good season, we have finished in 11th position with 55 points. Overview: · Our best PL points tally since 2009/10 under MON (64 points). · The 2020/21 PL season, is also the first time we have achieved a positive goal difference since the 2009/10. Overall, a brilliant season, lets push on next season and buy some quality players this summer (please Deano!!!) Goals: · Ollie Watkins scored 16 goals in all competitions. · Anwar El Ghazi scored 11 goals in all competitions. · Bertrand Traore scored 8 goals in all competitions (and tbh, scored some of the most amazing goals I have seen from a Villa player in many a year!) Assists: · Jack Grealish provided 12 assists in all competitions (even after missing 13 games) · Bertrand Traore provided 6 assists in all competitions. · John McGinn provided 5 assists, & Ollie Watkins provided 5 assists. Clean Sheets: · Emi Martinez kept 15 clean sheets in the PL, which equalled Brad Friedel’s record which was set in the 2009/10 PL season. Season Review: · Villa started off like a freight train, winning our first 4 games. · The first 14 games were the most impressive part of our season (W 8, D 2, L 4). · After Jack Grealish got injured, our season drastically tailed off which effectively lost us the chance of a top 8 finish. · Regardless, the season overall was a huge step forward, and it’s the first season in the last 4 where we weren’t sitting on the edge of our seats worried about promotion or relegation. · Compared to last season (game for game), we did better in 14 games, the same in 16 games, and worse in 8 games. 2020/21 versus previous years Top 7 / European qualification progress: 2020/21 versus 2019/20 points progress.
  9. Thought this deserved a thread of its own. Ticket details: https://www.avfc.co.uk/news/2021/may/FA-Youth-Cup-Final-ticket-details/ C'mon lads, let's have 'em.
  10. 10,000 Villa fans made a long-awaited return to Villa Park yesterday afternoon and proceeded to create the sort of atmosphere, that the game has been missing this season. This was our first win at Villa Park against our visitors since 2014 and we certainly were not at the beach for this one, much to the moaning Thomas Tuchel’s obvious chagrin! This game brought an end to a season that started incredibly brightly, then stuttered, but was re-ignited by our last two games, producing fine back-to-back wins. This was a season of progress after our narrow escape on the final day of the previous season. We finished four wins off the top four and 27 points clear of the relegation zone. We also accumulated 20 more points this season than we did last, if we do the same next year, we will be playing in the CL the following season! This will be my final player match ratings. I would take this opportunity to thank my VT readers for taking the time to look at them over the years. I have been doing these ratings for many seasons now and have posted player ratings on over 400 games at Villa Park. There have been highs (10s) and lows (the odd 0), I have rated players on their debuts and on their farewells, but the time has now come for me to call it a day and to hang up my mouse. Turning back to yesterday’s game, Chelsea arrived at B6 needing a win to guarantee Champions League qualification via the PL this season. They had the better of the first half, but we had the goal at the end of it. They dominated possession in this game and made numerous chances and half chances, but they could only put one of those away. Villa encouraged by a 25% full ground, that sounded like a full house (particularly when singing Tammy’s name and “Sweet Caroline” after the final whistle, even giving the other Blues a name check in the process!), defended resolutely and took the opportunities that came their way. Chelsea may have started the game as favourites (they were one of the six short lived European Super League members after all), but we demonstrated the integrity of the PL by not gifting them the win they needed. In doing so, we gave Leicester the chance to claim the CL place that in the end and only thanks to their local neighbours Spurs, our visitors kept, despite losing to us on the last day. We end this season back in our rightful place as the top team in the West Midlands and have left a sans Nuno Wolves with a 10-point gap to be increasingly anxious about. We ended the season on 55 points, which is our highest points tally since season 2009/10, when we finished sixth with 9 more points. We have also taken 16 points from 4 of the 6 clubs that would have potentially made up the ESL this season, to show that beating these teams is no longer a bridge to far for us. My player ratings from a game during which our visitors huffed and puffed, but were not able to blow our house down are: Emiliano Martinez – 8 – Saved a Chilwell shot hit from the right side of the area, from a Werner cross at the near post on 15 minutes. Mount hit an 18th minute shot from the edge of the box, that Emi clutched above his head. Werner then tried his luck with a 20th minute shot from outside of the box that Emi held at his right-hand post. He then comfortably gathered an ambitious 22nd minute overhead kick from the left of the penalty spot from Pulisic. Got a hand to the ball for their goal, having received treatment following a collision with an opponent shortly before, but the ball had already gone over the line before he had been able to get a hand to it. Dived to his left to gather the ball, after Havertz had tried to turn in a 75th minute Mount cross and the ball had taken a deflection off Mings, with Konsa providing cover behind Emi, just in case. Ziyech picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and ran to the left of the 6-yard box, before flicking the ball to Chilwell on the opposite edge of the box. Emi did so well to keep out Chilwell’s 87th minute shot, with his legs at his right-hand post. Ezri Konsa – 7 – We will need to address the question of who should fill in for Matty on any occasions that he is unavailable during the summer, because we do not want to be switching Ez from the middle of the defence, where he has been so effective too often. Pulisic’s 70th minute cross from the right, flew past him to the unmarked Chilwell on the left-edge of the 6-yard box, for their consolation goal, Kourtney Hause – 7 – Filled in very well due to Ez having been asked to cover for Matty. Kourtney really is a reliable PL central defender, I bet Wolves regret selling him to us now! Tyrone Mings – 8 – Was so solid at the heart of our defence again yesterday. This may not have been yet another clean sheet, but it felt like one. Orchestrated our terrific defensive performance and cannot have done his international chances any harm, with Southgate occupying his usual seat at Villa Park yesterday (does he have a season ticket now?). Matt Targett – 8 – Did well to dive low to head a dangerous Mount cross to safety from within the 6-yard box, with Azpilicueta closely behind him. Had another excellent game. Bertrand Traore – 8 – Watkins headed on an Emi kick from the edge of the box, that Bert picked up and ran to the left edge of the box with, before aiming a 16th minute shot towards the far post that Mendy dived low to his left to save. Hit a shot wide of the left-hand post from the edge of the box on 28 minutes. Targett’s 43rd minute corner was precisely hit to Bert, who in turn hit the ball first time from the left of the penalty spot, it might not have been as truly hit as he may have liked, but the ball went into the top left-hand corner of the net, off the underside of the bar to give us the half time lead. Earned our penalty when Jack switched the ball back to him inside the left of the box and he nutmegged Jorginho, who then made contact, as he moved to go past him. Like Anwar, he does need to learn to track back, but Bert wins games for us, with performances like this one. Marvelous Nakamba – 8 – MOTM - He was simply marvellous yesterday! Worked tirelessly and gave a solid defensive display in our midfield, popping up regularly at the most crucial times to avert the danger. This was the player we hoped he would be and the one that has now shown that he has it in him to live up to his name. John McGinn – 7 – Tenaciously claimed the ball just inside their half and then ran purposefully to the edge of the box, before hitting a 29th minute shot just wide of the left-hand post. Scotland’s best current player by a country mile, is limbering up nicely for the Euros. Jack Grealish – 7 -. Captain Jack is still easing his way back to full match fitness following his lengthy injury break, but his presence makes such a difference to us. Made a run into the right-edge of the penalty area and hit a 50th minute shot, that was deflected into the side netting for a corner. Jack played the ball back to Traore, which led to the penalty that gave us a two-goal cushion. Involved in both of our goals yesterday. Anwar El Ghazi – 7 – Put us two ahead when he sent Arrizabalaga the wrong way from the spot on 52 minutes, cooly hitting the ball to the right, with their costly substitute keeper, wrongly choosing to go left. He really is some penalty taker, and he has looked increasingly comfortable playing in the PL this season. Ollie Watkins – 7 – Ran tirelessly and harassed defenders throughout once again. Substitutes: Carney Chukwuemeka – Came on for Traore on 73 minutes. Dean has shown real confidence in this lad by introducing him in the last two games, Carney in turn, has took to PL football like a duck to water and he will be eager for more game time next season. Not on long enough to gather a rating on this occasion. Jacob Ramsey – Replaced El Ghazi on 79 minutes and he was also not on long enough to get a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  11. So as a sick mind-fecking idea, I thought with 3 days to go until our eventual success at staying in the league I'd start a thread about what could happen next year (given we stay up) as opposed to the relegation thread or the current season's thread - which are equally presumptuous as to the near future. Therefore - we are in a great position, we have a shed-load to invest, Jack stays, Mings and Konsa have formed an enviable partnership - where do we go from here? (Also may I be struck down by the gods when we get relegated).
  12. Villa v Chelsea Please do not mention streams or streaming in this thread. Please note that there is no distinction between legal or illegal, video or audio. If you aren't sure, it doesn't go in this thread. You will receive warning points if you ignore this.
  13. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. A mod will add the players to the MoTM poll later.
  14. Thread for Positive people only. If we can keep Wesley, Mcginn and Luiz at a minimum we've got a really good Championship side to bounce straight back up! Even tho we will get around 60-80 million for Grealish, I don't think we really need to spend that much money, Quality over Quantity this time please. Two quality wingers are the most important transfers we need. Not sure who will be partnering Konsa in defence all depends if Mings go. I don't really trust Hause & Engels. They will make decent squad players. Playoff is the minimum requirement. If the players still want to play for him, and the board are happy lets give Dean Smith the chance like Dyche got for Burnley to get us back up and who is now considered "a good manager". Who do you think we will keep and what position do we need to strengthen? Should Dean Smith be the man to take us back up? Could we possibly keep Mcginn, Luiz, Mings and Wesley?
  15. Goal of the season voting announced. what a nice surprise to see so many cracking goals fly in for the Villa this season. Any of these would be worthy of the accolade. Traore doesn’t score tap-ins does he?!? personal favourite, Traore vs West Brom - such poise and nonchalance! (apologies if this is posted elsewhere!)
  16. We invite the Albion to Villa Park on Friday evening for the FA Youth Cup Semi Final in what should be a heck of a game. Unlike at senior level, the FA Youth Cup remains the biggest competition for young players in England and it comes with massive prestige. The game will be broadcast on BT Sport live on Friday but sadly won't be available through AVTV as BT have bought exclusivity. This is the furthest we've been in the competition since 2010-11 when a team featuring Callum Robinson, Samir Carruthers and Daniel Johnson lost a two legged fixture against a Sheffield United side captained by Harry Maguire. Friday should see some of the youth players that we've got used to being excited by this season playing at their natural level. Most of the players that will feature play regularly for our U23 side and it really shows when they go back to U18 football. For me, the three stars from our squad we'll see on Friday are: Carney Chukwuemeka; tall, playmaking midfielder with the ability to glide through teams and an eye for goal, he's been compared to Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira in style and was the player Christian Purslow described as the best sixteen year old in the country at the start of the season. He's got the potential to dominate and he's still young enough to be eligible to play in this tournament next season! Louie Barry; stolen from the Hawthorns by Barcelona, who still refuse to pay the fee they agreed for him, he was rescued by Villa last summer and bought home to the club he supports. He'll play as a wide striker on the left and he's sharper than a Chef's knife. Quick, busy and with eighteen goals to his name this season, Jurgen Klopp called him a 'little Vardy'. Kaine Kesler; a swashbuckling full back with incredible energy and great ability who you can expect to see spend most of his time in the Albion half. Confident, combative and quick, he'll Captain us on the night. Hopefully we might also see Aaron Ramsey, younger brother of Jacob and a playyer who has been exceptional this season in creating and scoring goals as a number ten - he's been out injured for a little while and it looks like he might struggle to make this one, but if he's available he'll be a real asset to us. That quartet are ably assisted by a really talented group that at the back will include growing goalkeeper Filip Marschll, Lamar Bogarde, a centre half with real quality on the ball, Seb Revan at left back who has captained the U18's and either young prospect Sil Swinkels or the powerful Paul Appiah next to Bogarde. In midfield we'll see Arjan Raikhy, who for me is our most improved young player of the season, his ability to steal a ball off the opposition with his harrying and his range of passing are huge strengths for the team, if the other midfield position doesn't go to Ramsey, it'll be quite open with Hayden Linley having played in the quarter final. Up top we'll include our other eighteen goal man, Brad Young, a battling centre forward with plenty of talent who gives us a focal point and has masses of energy. Between them they've scored an incredible 22 goals in four Youth Cup games so far with our journey to the semi-final looking like this: 3rd Rnd - Reading 3 - Aston Villa 4 (Chukwuemeka 22, Young 37, 68, Barry 90+3) 4th Rnd - Aston Villa 3 - Brighton 0 (Kesler 72, Ramsey 76, 82) 5th Rnd - Aston Villa 9 - Burton Albion 0 (Redfern OG 7, Ramsey 10, Barry 11, 44, 80, Chukwuemeka, 32, 45, Young 61, Revan 87) Qtr Final - Newcastle 1 - Aston Villa 6 (Appiah 1, Young 8, Chukwuemeka 28, 61, 64, Reddin 75) Albion are no mugs, and they'll be the toughest opposition we've faced in the tournament so far. They've beaten Tottenham and Everton along the way to the semi final and they'll be confident coming in to this one. Over the last couple of seasons we've taken their academy director Mark Harrison and some of their top staff to Bodymoor Heath as we've looked to re-assert ourselves as the top academy in the region after a few years where Albion had stolen a march on us and there will be plenty of chat this week between two sets of staff that know each other very well. Our last league meeting was something of a thriller with Brad Young scoring four in a 6-4 victory - a victory that was made all the more remarkable because we were down to ten men with centre back Swinkels in goal for most of the second half and we were 4-3 down with 25 minutes to go! There will be plenty on this game and it should give us a real indication as to whether we've regained that place as the Midlands best academy. The other semi final will be contested between Ipswich Town and Liverpool and if we can allow ourselves to dream a little, we'd be the home team for the Final which would be played at Villa Park at the end of May, potentially in front of a few thousand fans. So yeah, it's a massive one, a real test for this crop of youngsters which is as talented as any I've seen coming through in the last fifteen or twenty years, it should be a really good game with goals galore and the chance to see some brilliant individuals tested on a big stage, it's a chance to see players who could be the future of the football club and a chance to see us put one over the Albion and reach the final of the country's biggest youth competition - what's not to like? Watch it. BT Sport 18:00 Friday 14th May.
  17. Spurs v Villa Please do not mention streams or streaming in this thread. Please note that there is no distinction between legal or illegal, video or audio. If you aren't sure, it doesn't go in this thread. You will receive warning points if you ignore this.
  18. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. A mod will add the players to the MoTM poll later.
  19. Linfields playing in UVF colours for their change strip this season
  20. Crystal Palace v Villa Please do not mention streams or streaming in this thread. Please note that there is no distinction between legal or illegal, video or audio. If you aren't sure, it doesn't go in this thread. You will receive warning points if you ignore this.
  21. I feel that the two threads of title race and relegation race are sadly and happily not going to apply to us - we're not winning the league and we aren't going down. We ate definitely in the mix for Europe, an amazing achievement to be saying that in February. Man City look to be running away with the league and everyone from 2nd downwards are having huge blips in form. Usually, top 4 qualify for the champions league. 3 europa league places go to 5th place, fa cup winners and league cup winners. If the cup winners are in the top 5, those two extra spots would go to 6th and 7th place. I may be wrong on this, but an extra team will quslify for the european conference league - happy to be corrected. Is it doable? Could we be on a european tour next year?
  22. Now.....(touches wood), im fairly confident we won't he in a relegation scrap this season. Who do you think will be relegated?, or who are the contenders? I think the contenders are: Fulham, WBA (almost guaranteed) The challengers for the final spot: Not sure?, Burnley?, Brighton? Can't see WHam, Southampton, Palace or others being relegated? Think Leeds will probably be pretty safe.
  23. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. A mod will add the players to the MoTM poll later.
  24. Well, we did take a point and we do remain unbeaten against Everton since our return to the top-flight. We also recorded our first clean sheet in two months and Jack is back at long last, but this game failed to set the pulses racing. Both defences were on top last night and neither team ever really looked like breaking the deadlock, although the visitors did begin to look increasingly threatening in the closing minutes. We had the best of the first half, but they came out a different side after the break (following no doubt, an interval tongue lashing) and put us on the back foot. There is currently little to choose between these two teams and that showed last night. We failed to work Pickford last night and both teams seemed relatively satisfied to hold the point that they started with throughout the game, which was perhaps more surprising in the visitor’s case, given they had more to play for before last night’s result. In conclusion, this was an end of season game played between two mid table teams and it showed. It does beat being a defeat away from relegation, on the last day though! My player ratings from a game that will not linger for too long, in most of our memories are: Emiliano Martinez – 7 – MOTM – Easily gathered an ambitious 30th minute Sigurdsson free kick, hit from the sort of range that only the late Peter Lorimer would have troubled Emi from. Made himself big just inside the 6-yard box, to block a 47th minute Calvert-Lewin shot that was hit from the left of the penalty spot. Fortunately, the striker was later flagged, as he had gone slightly too early in running past and between, Konsa and Mings. Claimed the ball on the edge of his 6-yard box a minute later, following a heavy touch from the same player. Godfrey met a 52nd minute free kick at the right-hand post and Emi reacted well to push the ball out for a corner with his left hand at the post. Holding gave Emi some catching practice with a header from a 63rd minute free kick. Did very well to keep out an 87th minute Calvert-Lewin header from just inside the 6-yard box with his legs at the near post. Equalled Brad Friedel’s club record of 15 clean sheets in a season last night, in his first season with us. Matty Cash – 6 – Was having a decent game until injury led to an early exit for him, shortly before the half time break. Ezri Konsa – 6 – Like the defence as a whole, he was solid and deserving of another clean sheet last night. Tyrone Mings – 6 – Had our best chance of the game on 17 minutes, when his diving header from the edge of the 6-yard box, flew a couple of feet wide of the right-hand post. Did very well on 92 minutes to cover Calvert-Lewin’s run into the box and reach a Richarlison cross first, to deny the striker a golden opportunity to hit home a late winner. Matt Targett – 6 – Another solid display. Anwar El Ghazi – 5 – Picked up the ball in the middle and ran forward before hitting an ambitious 25-yard 20th minute shot well over the bar. Hit a 61st minute free kick from the edge of the box, which Pickford chose to push past his right-hand post, rather than try to catch what was a wet ball. Jack found him on the edge of the box, he took a touch before hitting a 79th minute shot well over. Douglas Luiz – 7 – A marked improvement on some of his recent performances and he was unlucky not to have got an assist when his smart work within the box presented Mings with a clear opportunity to head us in front on 17 minutes. Nice to see him venturing forward again last night. John McGinn – 6 – Kept himself busy and did well in what was at times a combative midfield, particularly in the first half. Ross Barkley – 4 - If this does turn out to be his last Villa Park appearance in our colours, then I will think back on those games, when he showed us what a good player he can be, such as that stellar performance during which he combined so well with Jack against Liverpool, rather than on subsequent games this year. Since his injury, the covid breakout at the club and during Jack’s absence, Ross has rarely been able to reproduce more than a fleeting glimpse of the player that we know is in there and that was the case again last night, this will have disappointed Ross, as much as it has frustrated us. He was substituted after 65 minutes. Bertrand Traore – 4 – This was another of those exasperating displays during which he fails to make the sort of positive impression on the game, that we know he is capable of. El Ghazi found him on the centre edge of the box, but his first-time 11th minute shot was hit straight at Pickford. Booked on 43 minutes for diving on the edge of the box (it is nice to see the referees being consistent, it seems that any player (so long as he is playing for us) will now get an automatic card for simulation). Substituted on 72 minutes. Keinan Davis – 5 – Had big scoring boots to fill in Ollie’s absence. Lacked service and he did find himself up against a very solid, and well organised defence. Nevertheless, Keinan did not show quite the same determination or look quite the same player that had made such a positive impact in the closing minutes against WBA, last night. Substitutes: Ahmed Elmohamady – 5 – Replaced Cash in the 2nd minute of first half stoppage time. Headed a 74th minute Targett corner well wide. Blocked a 78th minute Gomes shot from the edge of the box, just in front of the 6-yard box. Always strives to give his best. Jacob Ramsey – 5 - Replaced Barkley on 65 minutes and injected some late energy into the midfield. Jack Grealish – Came on for Traore after 72 minutes to make a very welcome return, having last appeared for us in February, due to injury. Not on long enough to gather a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  25. We have been down this same road too often before. We take the lead, we dare to think that we could break the hoodoo they have over us at long last, but our hopes are inevitably dashed, and history annoyingly keeps repeating itself. The visitors despite threats to the contrary, played what looked remarkably near to their usual starting line-up yesterday and they looked determined to get their noses in front, during the opening minutes. Having weathered the visitor’s early pressure Villa then began to make an increasing impact on the game themselves and deservedly went ahead in the middle of the first half. Douglas conceded the penalty that levelled the scores early in the second half and they then added another within 4 minutes. Seeing our lead disappear and become a deficit so quickly was bad enough, but for them to then go on to add another near the end, that made the game look easier for them than it was, and to then have a player sent off was just so deflating. This was all too predictable and that feeling of deflation, is one that we have become all too accustomed to, over several years now. Bruno Fernandes scored his third goal against us in three matches yesterday. All three of those goals were from the penalty spot. They get awarded a lot of penalties against us, don’t they? Watkins was sent off for going down inside the box, having anticipated an injury threatening challenge that Henderson pulled out of at the very last minute. Would the referee have been in such a rush had it been our keeper and one of their forwards had stood accused of simulation, or would a penalty have been routinely awarded, as one was given when Bruno collapsed to the ground in a heap at Villa Park last season? Would one of our players have had a penalty awarded against them, if like Greenwood the ball had struck their arm inside the penalty area? I suspect at the very least, VAR may have suggested the referee have another look at it, if he had not already blown his whistle. A defeat by a 2-goal margin was harsh, but we do not get the rub of the green against this lot, they do every time and then some! Over far too many years now, Villa Park has become a favourite ground for our visitors. The players and managers may change, but if they do not win, they draw. The inevitability of it, becomes increasingly difficult to take. We are back in the bottom half again, after this result and our twelfth game without Jack. Whilst we have a game in hand of both Leeds and Arsenal, we are two and four points respectively behind these two. Wolves have also closed the gap between us to three points, so we really need a win on Thursday and ideally another at Palace, or a minimum of four points from six. We then finish the season with games against another two clubs that we have found hard to beat over recent years. It would be nice to take more points than we drop from our remaining games this season, wouldn’t it? My player ratings from a game that sadly produced our 8th home defeat of the season are: Emiliano Martinez – 6 – Parried away a 6th minute Shaw effort at the near post and Targett was on hand to clear the resultant loose ball. He then dived to his left seconds later to collect a Pogba shot. Held a 9th minute shot from Fred hit to his left and then dived to comfortably collect a 34th minute Shaw cross. Held a 39th minute Rashford shot from the edge of the box, to his right and then did well to parry a Greenwood effort at his left-hand post with his right hand and Konsa was on hand to clear the resultant loose ball from within the 6-yard box. Sent the wrong way from the spot by Fernandes after 52 minutes, when the ball was hit to his left. Might have felt he could have got a hand to their second, when Greenwood turned just inside the box and hit a sweet shot past his dive and into the left-hand corner of his net. Had no chance with their third, when Cavani was left clear to nod an 87th minute Rashford cross just inside the far post. Matty Cash – 6 – Had a steady game. Ezri Konsa – 6 – Should have been alive to the danger from Cavani and the job of challenging Cavani’s run to head their decisive third, was therefore left to Matty. He was otherwise always on hand to get his foot or a block in. Tyrone Mings – 6 – Committed himself unnecessarily on the edge of the box, enabling a nice turn from Greenwood to create the space he needed to hit their second. Other than for that costly mistake, had a solid game in the heart of our defence. Matt Targett – 7 – So reliable now and was the best of our defenders yesterday. Anwar El Ghazi – 5 – Hit a hopeful 30-yard shot harmlessly wide of the left post on 7 minutes. Was found by McGinn and his 50th minute shot from just inside the box was saved by Henderson, had it gone in, it would no doubt have been ruled out for offside by VAR, when McGinn first picked up the ball. Needs to perform more consistency at the high level he is capable of. Douglas Luiz – 4 – Started well enough but gifted them a route back into the game after 51 minutes with an unnecessary challenge inside the box on Pogba, who had his back to goal and was just willing him to make any sort of contact, so that he could topple over. Douglas had first grabbed his shirt and got away with it, but there was to be no reprieve when he went on to make contact, with the back of Pogba’s leg and the referee just could not wait to give it. Douglas was incredibly naïve or plain reckless, as he should be fully aware how easily Newton Heath’s players go down inside the box and how referees do not hesitate to award a penalty if even the slightest contact is made inside the area this season (other than in Ollie’s case today!) John McGinn – 7 – MOTM - This was simply John back at his best again. Ross Barkley - 5 – Was unable to repeat the impact he had on the Everton game yesterday and was substituted as we loaded the team with forwards as the minutes ran down, in search of an equalizer. Bertrand Traore – 7 – Put us ahead on 24 minutes. Solid challenges by Targett and then McGinn won the ball before Douglas found Bert on the edge of the box. He turned away from Lindelöf before hitting a screamer from the left of the box past Henderson and into the top right-hand corner of the net. Had a shot from a 60th minute Targett cross, pushed out for a corner by Henderson at his left-hand post. McGinn floated a nice ball into the box that Bert headed tamely towards Henderson on 80 minutes. Hit an 83rd minute shot from just inside the box straight at Henderson. Bert was heavily involved in most of the good things that we did up front, but like Anwar he does not always drop back and opposing wing backs therefore find space and are free to put pressure on our own full backs. Ollie Watkins – 6 – Came near to giving us a 2-goal cushion in the 2nd minute of first half stoppage time, when McGinn found him on the edge of the box. Ollie hit a good shot that Henderson dived to his left to push past the post. Unlucky to receive his first yellow, when his momentum took him into Maguire. Seemed even harsher of the referee to brandish a second yellow and send him off for simulation late in the game (he must have eyes like a hawk if he was able to see there was no contact). If referees applied the same strict interpretation to Bruno Fernandes, he would have seen an awful lot of red cards, wouldn’t he? Substitutes: Jacob Ramsey – 5 - Replaced Douglas on 65 minutes. Keinan Davis – Replaced Barkley on 77 minutes. Outmuscled Lindelöf on the right of the box on 82 minutes and would have been better to have had a crack himself, rather than to unselfishly try to square the ball to Watkins and see Wan-Bissaka block it. Keinan was not on long enough to get a rating this time. Wesley – Came on for Anwar after 78 minutes and was also not on long enough to merit a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
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