Aston Villa continued their unbeaten start to the Championship season with thanks to the last minute goal from Jonathan Kodjia. The game against Brentford ended 2-2 at Villa Park last night. See how we rated the performances of the starting XI.
Orjan Nyland – 7
The Norwegian stopper has raised question marks since Steve Bruce outlined him as his number one from German side FC Ingolstadt. He certainly answered his critics with his performance between the sticks last night. Arguably keeping Villa in the tie after two key saves after falling behind for second time, Nyland looked the part so let’s get behind him and hope for more this season.
Axel Tuanzebe – 6
Axel kept Ollie Watkins quiet until he fatigued come the seventieth minute, limiting the winger to few touches in the first half in particular. Axel – certainly if Elphick doesn’t fit Bruce’s plans – must replace Jedinak in partnering Chester at the heart of the defence, however.
Mile Jedinak – 5
I think we’re all in agreement that Mile is not a centre-half and of all people, Bruce must see this! I’ve commended Mile’s attributes which I feel are so important for the style we adopt, winning every aerial duel possible, to breaking up pay in the middle of the park. Yet, he is isolated and vulnerable at the back making more mistakes as the weeks go on.
James Chester – 6
Chester started for his 100th appearance and covered Mile well even if his mistakes didn’t reflect well on our skipper. Unfortunately for Chezzie, he had his work cut out, dealing with a lively forward in Neil Maupay whilst covering for Mile was a difficult task. However nothing seems to get past him, at least his reading of the game helps our whole back line to recover from Jedinak’s mistakes.
Alan Hutton – 6
The Scot tried to revive the link he made with Albert Adomah on the left flank last season but failed to produce it against Brentford. A relatively uneventful but rather solid display from Al.
Glenn Whelan – 8
Whelan does everything you want from a defensive midfielder, from keeping the ball, breaking up play and allowing Jack Grealish and John McGinn to break forward and become the creative sparks we’ll need come the latter stages of the season. Although the Irishman tired in the later stages of the second period, rotation with Birkir Bjarnason will be key for preserving the talent of others on the pitch.
John McGinn – 7
McGinn, like Whelan at least tonight gave it his all. Coming to the club with glowing reports from Hibernian fans, the Scot has lived up to the hype. He appears to thrive off the Holte roaring every tackle and lung-busting run he makes. A joy to watch, John relieves the shackles off Grealish to push beyond the defensive line, increasing the chances of scoring more goals this season, and ultimately winning more games! Nine goals in our first four games go a long way to demonstrate this.
Jack Grealish – 7
Typically, Grealish won countless free-kicks, although we didn’t manage to profit from the delivery of McGinn who adds real quality over a dead ball. Plus, with the threat we hold from set plays, Jack’s ability to draw fouls will be invaluable this season.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6
Elmo had a good game, breaking the defensive line and crossing when he could. However, this will be the final time we see him on the wing as new signings Yannick Bolasie and Anwar El Ghazi will occupy these positions. However, like Hutton, his marauding runs from full-back areas can cause problems and overloads on the flanks.
Albert Adomah – 6
I love Albert’s personality and the passion he has for Aston Villa. However, I fear the quality we saw last season has escaped him this term. This with the aforementioned new signings and Andre Green fitting the bill of the new owners to produce a young team, Albert looks a long way from the team sheet come the weekend.
Jonathan Kodjia – 8
That’s more like it! Finally, we have our king back. Kodjia posed a constant threat to the Brentford back line as he did two seasons ago when he netted the first in claret in blue. A double either side of half-time raises question marks over the potential signing of Tammy Abraham.
Yet, this is a player we must continue to pursue. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that Kodjia’s recent form has come since murmurs of Tammy’s arrival. Kodjia needs the competition up top and if we can’t tempt Tammy to join, the lack of forwards is frightening. We need a striker who will net over twenty times, especially as Hourihane is unlikely to bag double figures as is Albert.