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Player Match Ratings: A five goal comeback thriller at the Villa!


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A spirited, resolute display prevented this Aston Villa team becoming the first since season 1946 – 47 to lose their opening three home league fixtures bringing a rare home victory and sending fans home jubilant.

Well very few if any of us had been expecting three points from this game and that was particularly the case when we went a goal down just before half time against what had been a dominant Manchester City outfit. We were like a boxer on the ropes in the first half but we kept battling and improved in the second half picking ourselves up off the canvas to land two decisive blows and produce our very own version of “rope a dope” despite only having 33% of the possession by claiming the lion’s share of the goals.

We started against a Manchester City team that showed just one change from the side that had embarrassed their local rivals last weekend without Gabby, Westwood, Benteke and long term absentee Okore so there seemed little cause for optimism. Lambo played three at the back who generally kept us pretty solid and two wing backs moving forward well to support our hard working midfield three. But it seemed likely that this strategy was bound for failure should City score because we were showing little to suggest that we could be much of a threat to them up front given the lack of service we were able to provide for our forwards. But whilst there was only one goal difference between the two sides there was always the chance that we could snatch something from this one and we did just that with goals that turned probable defeat to sensational victory.

The inevitable opening goal came just before half time from their ninth corner but we valiantly responded to that and to a second goal from their tenth corner to claim all three points for a second time this season when being faced by a team who are expected to qualify for the Champions League each season. Even 5 minutes stoppage time that left us with 19 minutes to see out could not bring Manchester City the equalizer they sought which proves that money can’t buy you everything!

My player ratings from a game that has left us in the top half of the table are:

Brad Guzan – 6 – Brad produced a couple of poor kicks that cost us possession late in the game but hit one delightful long clearance that led to our winner and showed how effective a long ball can be for a so called “long ball team”. Did well to get down to a stinging volley from Negredo on 59 minutes and produced a decent save from Kolarov after 74 minutes having earlier got down well on 9 minutes as Dzeko tried to turn a Nasri pass past him.

Leandro Bacuna – 7 – MOTM – Not at his best in the first half but few were and his assist for our first and his well taken second made this win possible. Hit our second equalizer on 73 minutes when he hit a sublime free kick from the edge of the box over the wall and into the corner of the net with Hart nowhere.

Nathan Baker – 7 – A solid performance alongside Ron and Ciaran. Beaten to Nasri’s 56th minute corner by Dzeko whose back brought them a second with no Villa man protecting the far post it flew in at.

Ron Vlaar – 7 – Another good no-nonsense display from Concrete Ron.

Ciaran Clark – 7 – Worked well as part of this new central threesome.

Antonio Luna - 7 – Did very well when getting forward and did a solid job at the back.

Karim El Ahmadi – 7 – A much improved performance battled hard in the midfield and scored our opener on 51 minutes when Weimann threaded the ball past two defenders to him in space in the box and he hit the ball across Hart and into the far corner of the net. Yes he had one leg offside when the ball was kicked but we were due a debatable decision having been on the wrong end of more than one this season such as at Chelsea and the law of swings and roundabouts applies here.

Fabian Delph – 7 – Another good competitive display.

Yacouba Sylla - 6 – Solid challenges but then gave away his hard earned possession more than once. Put in a good shift overall.

Andreas Weimann – 7 – Brought down on the edge of the box by Nastasic producing the free kick that Bacuna converted and then ran onto a long clearance from Guzan on 76 minutes that Kozak got a slight touch on, which passed through two central defenders as did Andi before slotting the ball past Hart who had rushed out of his area to no avail and beyond the reach of the defender who was trying to get back to hook the rolling ball off the line.

Libor Kozak – 6 – Very limited service but he kept plugging away and did well on the edge of the box on 25 minutes when almost managing to slip a pass through to Andi.


Jordan Bowery – Replaced Weimann on 80 minutes. Not on long enough to earn a rating but put himself about well enough in the time he had available.

Up the Villa!
John Lewis

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Always look forward to your post match account John & once more you haven't disappointed. The key to yesterdays game, given our anticipated limited amount of possession was to try & stay in the game as long as possible & more importantly take what precious few chances came our way, which we did admirably..


Tactically, we really played 5 3 2 though Luna & especially Bacuna were exceptional when they did occasionally push further up the pitch as wing backs. Man City regularly got in behind Luna though but Bacuna was absolutely solid in his defensive duty & stood firm throughout.Having the three Central Defenders though worked really, really well.


The only real problem that seriously needs addressing is this persistence with zonal marking. It cost us a goal at the front post against Spurs in midweek when Chadli got a run on a static Lowton at the front post & this time it cost us twice in the same game. On the first goal 6 defenders are just marking space along the six yard & nobody is marking Toure & on the 2nd goal it was a replica of the goal conceded against Spurs, only this time it was Dzeko who got a free run ahead of a static Nathan Baker at the front post.


Also, because of this system, we do not even have one single Villa player on the half way line as the out ball, so, should we clear it, the opposition are immediately all over us again like a rash.


Peronally. I would much prefer us to revert to a man to man marking system with two men guarding the posts. I really hate this zonal marking & the thinking behind it because the opposition always have movement to attack the ball against a static defence whilst the defensive players can not see the runs that are .being made from behind them because they are static watching the ball as it comes toward the space they are supposedly defending.


Bacuna was rightly called man of the match, but every player comes out of this game with credit as it was a really spirited display & more importantly that is now two Premier League games on the bounce now where we have been under the cosh for the last 20 minutes & have managed to hang in & see the job out. It was also great to see how comfortably we managed to see out the 5 mins of added on time (though obviously it didn't feel like it at the time)


Whisper it, but I think we have finally learned how to defend properly collectively as a team apart from corners that is?


Great to see Villa Park rocking too. This is the type of Villa Park experience the fans really look forward too & enjoy. In the words of Paul Weller, `That's Entertainment.` It also underlines what a great club Aston Villa are & will always remain.


As for Man City, you might be a rich club, but this game proves conclusively that Aston Villa still remain a proper football club that don't need billions of pounds to buy their success or heritage. Man City are just artificial.


Final score: Aston Villa 3  Five Hundred Billion Pound Mega Bucks Filthy Rich Obscene Man City 2


Put that in your big fat wallet & smoke it :P

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John, I genuinely think that to get a ten by your ratings, a player would have to cure cancer and AIDS whilst banging in twelve goals and not misplacing a single pass as he gave all his worldly possessions to charity. 

Surely you dont think anyone deserved a ten yesterday do you?


...maybe except the linesman!

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John, I genuinely think that to get a ten by your ratings, a player would have to cure cancer and AIDS whilst banging in twelve goals and not misplacing a single pass as he gave all his worldly possessions to charity. 


Lexicon, surely you realise that Benteke achieved all of this & more & on more than one occasion too. Wasn't in those games too when he solved a Rubiks cube in 1 micro second & found a cure for the common cold (Influeneza to a certain fraternity) & launched himself so high into the air from a corner kick that NASA are thinking of deploying him for a one man spaced probe to Mars?


I'm pretty sure John gave him a 14 out of ten a few weeks back too. ;)

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John, I genuinely think that to get a ten by your ratings, a player would have to cure cancer and AIDS whilst banging in twelve goals and not misplacing a single pass as he gave all his worldly possessions to charity. 

Surely you dont think anyone deserved a ten yesterday do you?


...maybe except the linesman!



Nope but when we beat one of the strongest teams in the world 3-2, and one players gets a goal, an assist and generally plays very well and only gets a 7, questions should be asked!

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A 10 is as you say a very rare thing for me lexicon but it is out there waiting for the sort of performance that would earn it and it would not quite need to be as worthy as you have suggested 12 goals in 90 minutes or even 120 minutes would do it!

That linesman did play a blinder Nigel and it is so nice to see us get the rub of the green for once.

I could not agree with you more on those points you have made villa-revolution and I would also like to see us drop this zonal marking and adopt the policy of each of our players having a man or post to cover with one player left on the half way line so that the other side need two players back to cover him at corners.

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I did a quick check back for you lexicon and we have only gone 4 league games since I last gave a 10 to Benteke for the Sunderland game so they can turn up. I would also add that our MOTM was close to getting 8 this weekend.

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Cardiff City-
Crystal Palace-
Hull City-
Manchester City3321713340633+846
Manchester United405383
Newcastle United3033417375542+7220
Norwich City3318414
Queens Park Rangers385944
Stoke City3011018
Swansea City3400511
Tottenham Hotspur368637
West Bromwich Albion3448910
West Ham United3050316
Wigan Athletic3337412
Cardiff City
Crystal Palace
Hull City
Manchester City3-230-100-5030+3
Manchester United2-300-30000
Newcastle United1-201-201-11000
Norwich City1-111-032-13330
Stoke City0-013-13000
Swansea City2-032-21000
Tottenham Hotspur0-400-20000
West Bromwich Albion1-112-21000
West Ham United2-130-10000
Cardiff City0-302-21000
Hull City1-032-13000
Crystal Palace3-231-11000
Scored first1Conceded first5
When we score 1stTotHAWhen we concede 1stTotHA
Nil all draws000
Ave scoring min57Ave conceding min37
Scored first half3Conceded first half5
Scored 1-150Conceded 1-152
Scored 16-302Conceded 16-302
Scored 31-451Conceded 31-451
Scored second half6Conceded second half3
Scored 46-601Conceded 46-601
Scored 61-754Conceded 61-752
Scored 76-901Conceded 76-900
Possession Stats
Average match possession39.62%
Out-possess opponent1
Out-possessed by opponent5
When we out-possess opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)0 (0)
Goals scored (GPG)1 (1)
Goals conceded (GPG)2 (2)
When out-possessed by opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)9 (1.8)
Goals scored (GPG)8 (1.6)
Goals conceded (GPG)6 (1.2)
Own Goals
1Christian Benteke4
2Andreas Weimann1
2Leandro Bacuna1
2Karim El Ahmadi1
2Libor Kozák1
2Antonio Luna1
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Oh, didn't realise our 34,000 against Man C was an improvement on last season. That's encouraging, but I can't really understand why the gates are so much smaller than for the likes of Man U, Liverpool, etc.


I think I would have given Bacuna an 8.


Otherwise, an excellent report as ever.

Edited by briny_ear
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Thanks briny-ear. I guess the difference in gates might be explained by Manchester United & Liverpool having had a higher profile for a longer period than Citeh so they have had longer to gather glory hunters who live near Villa Park...

Form, how likely it is felt that we might win, how many home games we have had in the week(s)prior to a game, what offers are made by the club on prices and how crucial games have become as a season or a cup competition nears the end are also likely to influence crowd size for games against other clubs. But more games and results like this will have a positive impact on our attendance figures and I trust that can be demonstrated during the rest of this season!

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