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John

Player Match Ratings: Blunders cost us points again!

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We had given Bournemouth a two-goal start after just 12 minutes of this game, due to avoidable errors. You really can’t afford to do that in the Premier League. Mistakes will be punished more regularly than they were in the Championship and goals will be harder to come by. We will therefore need to minimise our error rate quickly, if we are to start gathering some much-needed points.  

It’s early days and we are making chances, but I am starting to wonder where our goals are going to come from. McGinn and Jack will chip in with some, as occasionally will others, but our forward players do not initially give me the impression that they will ensure that the net bulges on the regular basis that it will need to. How we could have used another striker for cover and to provide us with another alternative.

We face a steep learning curve and our new signings, as well as some of our other players will need to try to adapt like fish to water to the demands of the Premier League, if we are to take points from our next 7 games. We will be facing the top two from last season following those games, so these games which are against teams (other than Arsenal) that we should have a good chance of taking points from, will be crucial to our season.

We do not want to find ourselves with an early gap to make up, as doing so by putting together a winning run will be more difficult than it was last year. The same will also be the case, as yesterday demonstrated when it comes to coming back from behind. Twelve points from these games would be my realistic target. We can take comfort for now from how we have performed during our first two games. We will shortly become less comfortable, unless we can pick up some points, sooner rather than later.  

There will be no easy games this season. The teams that we will face like Bournemouth will not arrive at Villa Park in trepidation. They will at least initially target a game against us as one they should be getting something from and will not, unlike some clubs last season be content to just park the bus and hope to ride out the storm that is to come.             

After those first 12 minutes we did get a grip on yesterday’s game, but we had left ourselves with a mountain to climb. We made chances, but they also made a couple themselves. It took a moment of Brazilian magic to bring us back into the game, but we never looked convinced that the comeback was really on and so we tasted the first of what I trust will not be too many home defeats of the season. I don’t want to see many more sets of away fans celebrating a victory on our patch, it’s something that I have always found a bitter pill to swallow.       

My early thoughts on VAR? It doesn’t stop a referee being abysmal, as was the case yesterday. We might have had our chances of making a comeback enhanced, had yesterday’s referee had the bottle to show a merited second yellow card to Billing in the first half following blatant fouls on Jack and then McGinn, before he was withdrawn by Howe at half time, to avoid giving him another opportunity to do so.     

My player ratings from a game that rather dampened our spirits on the return of Premier League football to Villa Park and that gave the visitors their second successive 2-1 win at Villa Park are:

Tom Heaton – 5 – For some inexplicable reason he tripped Wilson, who had run onto a 1st minute ball played into the box by Fraser to concede the penalty that produced their opener and that put us on the back foot. Wilson who was only about a yard or so from the line, had run well wide of the left-hand post and his touch would have most likely sent the ball beyond his reach in any case. King proceeded to send Heaton the wrong way from the spot. Tom was unlucky that a deflection took Harry Wilson’s shot out of his reach for their second, but he positioned himself well to save Fraser’s 82nd minute shot with his legs.      

Ahmed Elmohamady – 6 – Hit some nice crosses and I would guess that his familiarity with playing with Trezeguet in front of him at international level, may have contributed to him retaining his first team place. No place for Guilbert even in the squad though?         

Bjorn Engels - 7 – Another encouraging performance alongside Tyrone.      

Tyrone Mings – 8 – MOTM - Unlucky to find himself on the losing side, against his former club following a pretty much faultless performance.               

Neil Taylor – 6 – Has reacted well to his first team place being under considerable threat. Had a 57th minute shot blocked by Cook when an Elmo cross fell to him and headed a ball from Jota on 80 minutes well wide. Might Targett nevertheless, come into contention for a start on Friday?               

Trezeguet – 6 – Showed that he doesn’t enjoy being on the losing side when he tried to rally both fans and his fellow players towards the end of the game. Tracked back well a couple of times and turned nicely on the edge of the box on 66 minutes before hitting a shot that was saved by Ramsdale at his left-hand post.              

Douglas Luiz – 7 – Looked increasingly promising following his decisive early error of judgement. He was not easily dispossessed, grew increasingly comfortable on the ball and hit a tremendous shot on 71 minutes from outside of the area into the top right-hand corner of the net, to set up what could have been a late comeback. He was in the middle of his own half when he chose to allow a 12th minute pass from Trezeguet to go through his legs, no doubt under the impression that the player behind him was another Villa player, rather than Harry Wilson. The losing playoff finalist gratefully accepted the gift and hit a powerful shot that took a deflection off Mings on the edge of the box, which led to the ball evading the diving Heaton’s reach and going in off the left-hand post for their second. I have a feeling that he may become an exceptional player.       

John McGinn – 7 – Had an 8th minute shot from outside the box tipped over the bar by Ramsdale, a 22nd minute shot from just inside the box also blocked by the keeper and hit the right-hand side netting with a shot on 42 minutes.            

Jack Grealish – 6 – Had a quiet first half. McGinn took a quick free kick which found Jack in space, he ran on before hitting a 53rd minute shot from the edge of the box just wide of the right-hand post. Claimed an assist when he played the ball back to Luiz from within the box to find him in space and to provide him with the opportunity to hit a goal on his debut. Got on the end of a well placed 63rd minute Elmo cross, but shouldered, rather than headed it from close range and the ball sailed well over the crossbar.       

Anwar El Ghazi - 5 – Failed to make any significant impression on this game. When he hit that first half free kick from the edge of the box harmlessly over, I’m sure I was not the only one thinking of how we were missing Connor’s dead ball prowess.                      

Wesley – 5 – It’s early days, but he doesn’t look like a natural goal scorer to me. Hit a 26th minute shot from near the left-hand post that deflected off a defender and was pushed away for a corner by Ramsdale and had a shot blocked by a defender after Trezeguet had ran into the box and squared the ball for him.

Substitutes:

Jota – Replaced El Ghazi on 75 minutes. Didn’t make enough of an impression during the limited time that he had available to do so, to earn a rating.      

Keinan Davis – Came on for Trezeguet on 87 minutes. Not on long enough to gather a rating.  

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Pretty much how I saw it, John. I'd maybe give Wesley a 4, and Taylor a 7, but it's marginal, really. Wesley in the first couple of games looks to be struggling to adapt - he's like a fish out of water and current form looks like a dud signing, but time will tell. Overall, we were kind of fine apart from 2 or 3 mistakes and a lack of a goal threat up front. I quite enjoyed the game.

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From an outsider looking in and only watching MOTD, I thought that Heaton's foul was totally needless. Why couldn't he have just guided the ball out? My guess is that Villa must have been quite nervous. Wilson's goal was a super strike and took a wicked deflection but from what I can gather he is always liable to try from that sort of range and i'm surprised that Klopp let him go back out on loan but that's by the bye.

That Luiz strike was just fantastic and shows promise for your boys. I'm sure that if you keep creating the chances - like you also did at Spurs, then the points will come. Believe or not when I wrote one of my in-frequent LFC accounts last season I said that I hoped Villa went up as this division never seems the same without you - even though you have a devilishly tidy recent record at Anfield against us!

As  for VAR - that decision against Man City was ridiculous - though I was not complaining - of course. Let's hope for everyone - like supposedly penalties, they'll even themselves out over the course of a season. 

Andy 

 

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Think you're both being incredibly harsh on Wesley, especially when you're giving the people who are supposed to be feeding him a 5 and a 6. Wesley isn't in the side to be a 'natural goalscorer' either IMO, he's there to bring others into play because that's how we tend to attack - the goals tend to be shared around. 

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17 hours ago, lexicon said:

Think you're both being incredibly harsh on Wesley, especially when you're giving the people who are supposed to be feeding him a 5 and a 6. Wesley isn't in the side to be a 'natural goalscorer' either IMO, he's there to bring others into play because that's how we tend to attack - the goals tend to be shared around. 

It's early days and I hope that he will, in the fullness of time hit the back of the net on a reasonably frequent basis. I understand the idea that "he's there to bring others into play" but he will surely be expected to be our main scorer nevertheless. Not 20 goals a season, but certainly 10+ for me. He got a 5 and in my opinion that was about right for Saturday.I'm looking forward to giving him nearer double that on Friday night.😉

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Doing exactly what he did in the other games, just scored today and had much better service.

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