Aston Villa returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Rotherham at Villa Park. Goals from Tammy Abraham and Yanick Bolasie proved to be enough for Steve Bruce’s men.
Although it was comfortable, it wasn’t spectacular. See how we rated the performances of the starting XI.
Orjan Nyland – 6
The Norwegian keeper had little to deal with throughout but a clean sheet is all that counts. Albeit the first of the season, Orjan has struggled to get to grips with the Championship. Making both blunders and spectacular saves. It is important that he forms a relationship with his defence which Mile Jedinak looks like he’ll be a part of.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 7
His delivery to create Villa’s second and Bolasie’s first for the club couldn’t be more accurate. Whipped into the corridor of uncertainty, Rotherham goalkeeper Marek Rodak was stranded on his goalmouth.
James Chester – 7
A first clean sheet for Chester since a win over Yeovil in the League Cup. He again looked calm and composed on and off the ball. Whilst he’s not the tallest nor physically imposing, he may need the likes of Jedinak to work off, becoming the second centre-back, sweeping up when needed.
Mile Jedinak – 7
Again winning every battle in the air, Mile looked assured and comfortable at the back. Rather than shaky and vulnerable against nippy, agile forwards like Neil Maupay of Brentford. The Aussie could have capped his evening off with a goal as he rose highest from a corner at a crucial point in the game.
Alan Hutton – 5
Shuffled across to left-back once more, Bruce didn’t include Neil Taylor in the matchday squad for whatever reason- it’s all a bit strange. Alan lost the ball in advanced areas of the field on numerous occasions, even if he brought the rest of the team up the pitch. What’s more, Rotherham’s Ryan Williams looked dangerous especially when one on one with the Scot, using his agility and pace to move past Hutts.
John McGinn – 8
Super John McGinn! Looks like he’s improving after every game. His determination and aggression when winning the ball back is something Villa Park hasn’t seen for an awfully long time. I’ve said it before but he’s an absolute steal for the alleged amount we forked out. He is a player who could easily play with Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane without an anchorman.
Conor Hourihane – 6
Conor doesn’t need to prove his worth in the side. Replacing the eleven goals he managed last term will be so difficult, especially with the Irish international on the sidelines. With McGinn proving he can be the combative, aggressive player we need. The technique and clinical nature of Conor in front of goal with the sheer class of Grealish is a midfield trio capable of hitting the standard required to win enough football matches to be well placed come May.
Jack Grealish – 6
His combination play with others is second to none. Bamboozling Championship full-backs when isolated on the flank. Jack’s intelligence allows others to collect the ball in advanced positions. Increasing the chances of creating and crafting goalscoring chances. His simple but clever pass to the feet of Kodjia was as important as the Ivorians assist for strike partner Abraham.
Anwar El Ghazi – 5
Anwar struggled to make an impact against Rotherham. Although when the ball’s at his feet, he can make things happen. Unlike previous performances, his final ball wasn’t good enough on the night, overhitting crosses and passes alike.
Jonathan Kodjia – 7
Kodj looked sharp and bright, and dare I say it – he links well with Tammy. Since playing with each-other at Bristol two campaigns ago, the two have a knack of knowing where each other are, a massive plus for the side. Struggling to make partnerships up top previously, let’s hope Abraham can be Kodjia’s tonic to a successful season.
Tammy Abraham – 6
Does what we need him to do – score. One touch was all it took for Tammy to break the deadlock, at a much-needed stage of the game, before half-time. Rather elusive throughout. Abraham will have to take the chances when he gets them, but I would back to take most of them. Apart from Dwight Gayle, there aren’t many more potent forwards in the division. Let’s hope this performance against Rotherham is the start of something special.