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Player Match Ratings: A work in progress but encouraging signs!


John
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It is now twenty long years since Manchester United tasted defeat in a league game at Villa Park. That is way too long!  

 

There was not a lot to choose between the two teams last night. But that has been the case before in some of those games and a draw has been the best we have managed to get from any of them.

 

The players worked very hard to stay in the game and to nullify their opponent’s threat. We improved during the course of the game but we posed little to no threat up front to our visitors. The only goal of the game won it but things could have been different had referee Dean not ignored our penalty appeals on 38 minutes when Darmian held Richards back by the neck as he went for a corner. But we do not get much from referees do we?     

 

Only one of the players in a claret & blue shirt last night started in the FA Cup Final. This new team will take time to gel. Players will need to become familiar with playing together and players who are new to English football will need to adapt to the pace of the Premier League.

 

We will be boosted when Gil, Grealish and Traore are available for first team selection. It would be nice if we could add another couple of players during what remains of this window as well because sometimes 10 new signings is not quite enough.

 

This team will get better. The time to judge new players will come later when they have some more games under their belt and are more accustomed to playing alongside each other. But we do need to keep picking up points in the interim so three to four points from our next two games must be our target.                 

       

My player ratings from a game that has left us with 3 points from our first two games and with more positive than negative signs for the future are:

 

Brad Guzan – 6 – Had the ball played back to him quite a lot particularly in the first half and he seemed nervous and uncomfortable with the ball at his feet.  Brad got down well to keep out a 78th minute effort from outside of the box by Depay and had done well to get his feet to a loose ball on the edge of the box when under pressure from the same player on 20 minutes.                                                                     

 

Leandro Bacuna – 6 – Didn’t get forward and whip the crosses in as often as we have come to expect from him. Leo does still remain a cause for concern when it comes to defending but I do not think he would claim to be a full back and he did well enough with his back to goal last night. I wonder if Hutton may get a look in at some point.                             

 

Michah Richards – 8 – He offers a real threat to opposition defences in the air as he did when he was denied a penalty on 38 minutes last night. Our new captain led by example last night, was keen to give advice to those around him and gave a first class central defensive display.    

 

Ciaran Clark – 7 – A solid performance. He was unlucky that his slight deflection on Januzaj’s winner took the ball past Guzan but not past the far post.                                 

 

Jordan Amavi – 8 – MOTM - Flashed a good cross over on 52 minutes following good work by Sinclair which neither Gabby nor Ayew did enough to try to get on the end of. Provides a real threat when moving forward and looked very comfortable the back. Jordan has hit the ground running and looks to be a superb signing.                          

 

Jordan Veretout – 6 – Worked hard, showed some nice touches but ran himself into the ground more quickly than would be expected. Jordan can become increasingly influential as he gets up to the pace of this league in the coming weeks.           

 

Ashley Westwood - 7 – Hit some decent passes and steadied a midfield of which he has suddenly become our most experienced member.                                        

 

Idrissa Gueye – 6 – He is not unwilling to put a foot in is he? Looks comfortable on the ball and is a player who can make a big impact for us. He really should have gone with Januzaj when he made his run from the edge of the box to score their winner though.                 

 

Scott Sinclair – 6 – Unlucky to have been the player that made way for Rudy on 59 minutes as he was showing some signs of improvement at that point.   

 

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 4 – Whilst players who were around him last season have gone Gabby still remains a constant in our starting line up. This was a game in which he might have been expected to set a positive example to the new players he was playing alongside given his experience but it was another game that passed him by. He was unchallenged on 55 minutes but his header from a Westwood corner lacked pace and was easily collected by Romero.     

 

Jordan Ayew – 5 – Jordan was gifted the ball by Mata on 48 minutes but his shot from the edge of the area finished high and wide of the target. Worked well enough but did not really make much of an impact up front or cause any real concern to their defence. It is way too early to judge him yet but he will be looking to make a bigger impression as he becomes more settled in this team. He might currently find it easier with Gestede or Kozak playing alongside him.       

 

Substitutes:

 

Rudy Gestede – 6 – Replaced Sinclair on 59 minutes. Rudy needs to start games now to give us a cutting edge up front that we are currently missing.

 

Carlos Sánchez – Replaced Veretout on 78 minutes. Looked good during the time he had available to do so but he was not on long enough to gather a rating.    

 

Happy New Season - Up the Villa!

John Lewis

 

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