Jump to content

Player Match Ratings: Is it safe?


Recommended Posts

No, we are probably not quite safe yet. But, it seems highly unlikely that the bottom two will be able to catch us now. We might have enough points on the board already. Another point or three would probably do it for us. But with the sort of results we have seen recently nothing can quite be taken for granted yet. Our objective is now to stay ahead of a minimum of one of the four teams that are immediately below us. I think given our recent terrific form we are more than capable of doing that.


Everton came into this game unbeaten in their previous 6 league games,  having won 5 of these and also having not tasted defeat against us since 2010. They were below their best in the first half but we never quite finished them off. Our opponents refused to accept defeat in the meek way that other teams have done of late to teams who are embroiled in the relegation battle with us.  We twice stretched our lead to two goals yesterday but our opponents came back twice to bring themselves within a goal of us and to threaten to take a point against the run of play.


Everton in the 200th league game between the two teams were a clear threat to us when they pushed forward in the second half to pressurise a defence that has let other teams back into games all too often this season. So our win was not as comfortable as it might have been and the final whistle could not come soon enough against tenacious opponents who were aided and abetted by some very debatable decisions by yesterday’s referee.


Quite how we ended up with two players booked and Everton with just one does beggar belief. But Clattenburg who was born in Consett, Co Durham and now lives in Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne was for some inexplicable reason very reluctant to react to strong challenges on both Delph and Grealish.


He also ignored Given’s appeal for a free kick when their late second was scored to the extent that our keeper was given a booking and showed not the slightest of hesitation when awarding them their penalty. But our resilient team were not to be denied the three points we so desperately needed and so very much deserved yesterday.  


I have to add that I enjoyed the humour of the Everton fans early on when they turned and applauded us as we sung of going to Wembley having beaten their local neighbours to get there!


My player ratings from a game that left us still 2 points clear of Sunderland who occupy the third of the relegation places and moved us up to 14th spot having leapfrogged Leicester, Hull and Newcastle in doing so are:


Shay Given – 7 – Provided something of a calming influence on a defence that can be prone to fretfulness when put under pressure. Shay’s distribution of the ball was solid other than once in the first half when he dwelt on the ball a little too long and ran the risk of losing it on the edge of his box.

Shay was not frequently tested on his return to league action. But he touched a Lukaku shot wide of the post after a strong run from inside his own half from the striker on 47 minutes and almost got a hand to Lukaku’s 59th minute penalty that went in just inside the post. Reached up to claim an effort from the same player on 63 minutes and was very unfortunate to concede a second when being impeded on the line by Coleman as he tried to reach Jagielka’s 92nd minute header that went in off the crossbar.                                                                    


Leandro Bacuna – 7 – Hit a sublime inch perfect pass to claim a big assist for our third and hit a free kick from 30 yards on 15 minutes that Howard needed to push away at the foot of his post.                             


Jores Okore – 7 – Had a decent game yesterday alongside Ron.   


Ron Vlaar – 6 – Had a free header from a 29th minute Grealish corner but put the ball well wide of the far post. Touched Naismith’s heel inside the box and the Evertonian gleefully hit the deck to claim the penalty that brought them back into the game on 59 minutes. There is a lot of responsibility on our two central defenders at the moment in holding this defence together as a unit.                                   


Kieran Richardson – 6 – Another decent performance from Kieran.                         


Tom Cleverley – 9 – His best game in our shirt and he has been a revelation of late. He needs to stay with us next season and win his England place back with us. Tom worked tirelessly throughout and also claimed a second goal in two matches. Bacuna played a perfect ball through to him that Barry was unable to intercept on 64 minutes. His run in the space between two defenders was perfectly timed and his finish was so sweet. That third was so necessary and so timely coming so soon after their first which lifted them and would have deflated us earlier in this season.            


Ashley Westwood - 8 – Worked very hard and again played an important role in securing another win. He undoubtedly has a big future with us for me.                                        


Fabian Delph – 9 – Another fabulous all round midfield performance from Fab.                


Jack Grealish – 8 – Jack was always available to receive the ball and had an effort from inside the box deflected wide for a corner. His confidence is growing with each game and he is a real headache for defenders.   


Charles N’Zogbia – 7 – Another very encouraging performance. He left the field to a standing ovation when substituted and who would have predicted that happening earlier in the season?  


Christian Benteke – 9 – MOTM – He now has 11 goals from his last 9 matches and is unplayable in this sort of form and with his current level of confidence. Headed our opener on 10 minutes when Delph aimed a perfect ball to him and he hung in the air between two defenders before powering his header past Howard. Added a second on 45 minutes when a Grealish corner took the slightest of touches off Vlaar’s head that put it past the defenders behind him and found Christian unmarked at the far post to put the ball in. He has done so much to keep us in the top flight and we really cannot afford to see him leave in the summer as he is simply irreplaceable.    




Carlos Sánchez – 6 – Replaced Westwood on 75 minutes. Did a decent job in the short time he had on the field.


Alan Hutton – Replaced Bacuna on 81 minutes making a welcome return from injury but Alan was not on long enough to gather a rating.    


Joe Cole – Replaced N’Zogbia on 90 minutes. Joe did not have enough time to merit a rating.    


Stay up the Villa!

John Lewis

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...


Ad Blocker Detected

This site is paid for by ad revenue, please disable your ad blocking software for the site.