Aston Villa made it seven games without a win following a 1-1 draw against Blackburn at Ewood Park.
A late goal from substitute Conor Hourihane saved Steve Bruce’s blushes but how did we rate the players? Do you agree with our ratings?
Ørjan Nyland – 6
Our Norwegian stopper clearly has lightning quick reflexes. He demonstrated this when saving to his right-hand post after Tuanzebe almost scored an own goal. However, he still looks shaky when collecting crosses. He tends to flap at balls instead of relieving pressure off the backline and removing all danger. It’s no coincidence that his un-convincing start has coincided with Aston Villa being one of only a few clubs in the EFL not to keep a clean sheet.
Alan Hutton – 6
Hutton looked more assured and comfortable on the right side. He cuts inside well allowing his partner on the right flank to drive towards and commit opposing full backs. Although, his positioning when defending set plays must improve. Both he and Villa had a lucky escape when Blackburn’s Bradley Dack saw his goal wrongfully ruled out.
Axel Tuanzebe – 7
An assured and confident display from young Axel. His physical presence provides the base for the United loanee to become a superb centre-half. His partnership with James Chester must improve. We all know that successful championship sides have a recognised centre-half pairing. With John Terry’s move to Spartak Moscow collapsing earlier in the week, his place may be under jeopardy. Saying that, is there anyone better to learn from?
James Chester – 6
Chester looked more comfortable playing alongside a recognised centre-half in Tuanzebe. Clearing up when needed, Chezzie still needs to improve to reach the highest of last season. One main factor to his slight dip in form may be the problem behind him. As Nyland stands between the sticks with half the confidence that Sam Johnstone had in the Villa goal. Chester must learn from his experience with Terry also and become the commanding leader. Something we seemed to lack against Blackburn.
Neil Taylor – 6
Certainly, Neil provided more balance to a backline which looked to have been chosen out of a hat, for the most part, this season. Often a scapegoat, Taylor looked assured against Blackburn. There are questions about his ability when he goes forward though. He must make this position his own with very little natural competition.
Mile Jedinak – 6
Finally, Jedinak has been bumped up into a more familiar role. He was outstanding in the first period. He limited Blackburn’s Dack to only a few opportunities to turn on the Villa backline. Winning every aerial duel, Mile’s presence in away trips may be vital for success on the road.
Jack Grealish – 6
Not hitting the heights of last season, Jack clearly was disturbed by Tottenham’s interest last August. On the ball, he won’t be disposed. It is worrying to see how many times we managed to give him such opportunities to link up and play with former England u21 teammate Tammy Abraham.
John McGinn – 6
Denied a penalty kick in the first period, John again impressed when harrowing the Blackburn midfield. He always makes every attempt to close down and win the ball back. Yet, John seems a little rusty still in decision making, not choosing to feed Abraham on a few occasions.
However, he has the making of a brilliant player this season.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6
By unpopular opinion, Bruce decided to drop Anwar El Ghazi and keep Elmohamady on the field. Understandably, his defensive presence on the right flank provides a solid base to limit attacks on the wings. Yet, how many times has Elmo managed to find space but his final ball isn’t up to scratch. With El Ghazi scoring and assisting in his first three, he must be considered.
Albert Adomah – 7
Albert was a man on a mission. His desire and work ethic was second to none, helping Taylor on the left flank when needed. Whilst I doubt we’ll ever see the Albert Adomah of last season, it looks like Bolasie, when match fit, will replace Albert.
Tammy Abraham – 6
A promising debut for Tammy. Restricted to only the half chance in the game. It cannot be argued his presence at the top of the pitch will help score goals and win football matches. Showing glimpses of class, he linked very well with Jonathan Kodjia as the former Bristol link almost came to fruition on the hour mark. It’ll be intreating to see if Bruce opts to use the two together against Rotherham on Tuesday. Or will he stick with Abraham on his own like he did against Blackburn?