Aston Villa kicked off their 2018-19 Championship campaign with a 3-1 victory to Hull City at the KCOM Stadium. Goals come from Tommy Elphick, Alan Hutton and Ahmed Elmohamady but how did the team rate as a whole?
Jed Steer – 7
Food for thought. Steve Bruce clearly doesn’t trust Steer to be his number one over the course of a season but the former Norwich stopper may just work his way back into contention as Orjan Nyland looks to see his move from Ingolstadt. He thwarted Jarrod Bowen from yards out and look d an assuring figure between the sticks.
Alan Hutton – 9
We’ve been waiting a long time for that moment! Possibly the most popular goal scorer we’ll have all season, Hutton demonstrated his athleticism and the technique to match as he stole the headlines. His presence in the right fullback role enhances the balance of the side, especially if Bristol man Joe Bryan is to sign at left back.
James Chester- 6
Returning to his old stomping ground, the skipper showed his class and composure on the ball. However, on one occasion he seemed to overplay as Frazier Campbell almost robbed him deep in the Villa half. His services were in demand until new investment came to Villa Park, a timely arrival of cash as Chezzie, alongside Grealish will be one of the first names on the team sheet.
Tommy Elphick – 7
Although he could’ve done more to prevent the Villa falling a goal behind, he amended for his faults moments later. With limited attacking threat form Hull, it remains hard to gauge if the newly formed centre-half partnership will work but with the arrival of Axel Tuanzebe for a second stint at the club, Bruce may look at other options here.
Neil Taylor – 5
After being beaten too easily in his first battle with Jarrod Bowen, it summed up Neil’s performance against Hull. With a limited attacking threat, Albert Adomah struggled to produce on the left flank as support from Taylor didn’t exist. A six million pound bid to acquire Bristol City’s Joe Bryan should go a long way to fix a problem position which has hung over Villa for some time now.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 9
Scoring his first goal for the Villa, the Egyptian swept home confidently to stake his claim in the starting line-up, above Andre Green. He gave energy, as well as his partner Hutton to bomb on past the tired looking Stephen Kingsley. An impressive display from the Egyptian international.
Glenn Whelan – 6
Kept it ticking over well. He allowed Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane to break beyond him who had to add an attacking threat. Although his range of passing wasn’t for all to see in this game, with Bruce suggesting he’d like more energetic, youthful legs in his side, one wonders if Bruce may delve into the loan market to make further additions.
Conor Hourihane – 6
On the whole, Conor won his duels with Batty, limiting their creative spark to only a few touches in the final third. His effort from a free kick early into the second period exemplified his technique from a dead ball – a weapon which will become very useful as the season continues.
Jack Grealish – 7
Roll on Thursday!
Fingers and toes crossed.
Albert Adomah – 6
Provided a good option for an out ball when breaking on the counter-attack. Yet, unlike last season, his game seems to have become rather one dimensional, not giving the unpredictable side to his game we all know he can bring.
Jonathan Kodjia- 5
Talking of unpredictable… Kodjia frustrates not only the fans but the players and manager alike. The reaction from both Bruce and Elmo when he opted not to use his option on the right flank was a poor decision. In fairness, we struggled to get enough bodies around the striker all game, limiting the effect we know that he can have. With the likes of Tammy Abraham and Lukas Nmecha of Manchester City linked, Bruce will again use the extended loan deadline to add needed additions in this department.