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Player Match Ratings: Guess who’s back?


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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.  


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

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