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Birmingham City 0 – 0 Aston Villa
VILLA PLAYER RATINGS
Saved low from Jota & Davis as well as dealing with two Vassell headers. Almost went full-Encklemann, firing a clearance into the advancing Blues striker. The rebound went narrowly wide, saving derby day blushes….and the young United keepers career with it.
Coped well across the afternoon, without being spectacular. Hacked clear when required and didn’t react when shoved over in the first half. Pelted with cardboard clappers and also on at least one occasion coin(s).
The strong partnership the Welsh international has built with John Terry continued again at St. Andrews. A reliable, cool-head at the back but may rue not throwing himself at Terry’s flicked header that ghosted wide. Defensively solid.
Terry (7.5) (MOTM)
6 clean-sheets in 8 games must in some large part go to the Captain’s growing presence in the Villa side. Against Blues, Terry was unsurprisingly unfazed by the occasion and was untroubled for the most part. A combative, tireless figure alongside Chester, the former England captain was unlucky to see a header drift just wide. For many years Villa have lacked a “proper” Captain, so it was good to also see JT in the referee’s ear at every opportunity, being the first over to a bleeding Whelan and bounding in at the first sniff of a fracas. Villa Underground’s Man Of The Match.
Struggled to contain a lively Jota in the first half, but recovered in the second period significantly. Guilty of creaming Blues’ other threat with a challenge from which he later had to be withdrawn (knee injury). Endless energy and effort, for which he may give Bruce a selection headache with Neil Taylor’s return from suspension.
Booked early in the game for wading in after Elmo was shoved over. Whilst this show of ‘fight’ was pleasing, there is little to reflect on following a largely impotent performance. Another who was pelted with clappers from set pieces, but contributed nothing else of note before being subbed on 60 minutes. A very, very disappointing performance on reflection.
A welcome sight emerging onto the field on the hour mark as Villa looked to shore up. The Aussie captain’s quality and experience immediately stood-out. Seemingly brought on by Bruce to man mark N’Doye, an effective tactical move from Bruce. Further, the combination of Jedinak & Whelan seemed to offer more balance, which is obviously a major positive to take forward.
Worrying signs early in the game as the Irishman took his time to settle. A moment of real concern as he fell awkwardly when Blues broke around him with ease. Whilst a focal point in some quarters of Villa’s support for unrestrained criticism, Whelan made a number of significant contributions over the 90. A fearless battler, Whelan sustained a nasty facial cut for the cause. The facts also speak volumes. 8 clearances, 8 instances where he gained possession, plus two interceptions & a block. The former Stoke man might not always be the prettiest, but it’s hard to overlook the dirty work being done very well indeed.
Tried to make things happen but stifled in a game crying out for a creative spark. Guilty of a horrendous missplaced pass which allowed Jota a free run on goal. Hourihane will have breathed a sigh of relief to see Jota’s effort skied into the Tilton. On the other hand, Hourihane contributed plenty of running to support Whelan and worked extremely hard particularly in the first half.
A 15 minute cameo for the youngster who’s stock continues to rise. Fired an effort off the crossbar, evidencing both his directness and change he brought to the game. Provided one of the few moments of genuine footballing excitement across the 90.
Struggled at the races today, with limited success trying to break down the flanks. As can sometimes be the case with Adomah, it can be hit and miss. With few opportunities to get at and put balls into the box, the likelihood of one coming off was diminished. Wasteful free-kick at the death.
Yikes, a really anonymous showing after a number of deserved rave reviews lately. Onomah failed to assert his physicality nor his technical ability into a game where you’d think it would be suited. Young players have games like this, but it was a shame it occurred today.
Tested the keeper early on, before failing to release Snodgrass before losing possession. Continues to look out of sorts this term after a long injury layoff. For strikers, goals often breathe the confidence back in. Was desperately unfortunate in the second half to see his shimmy and fired effort cannon back off the bar. Also tested the Blues keeper with a fine header. A little bit of a “marmite” character of late, who we now await news on a possible recurrence his ankle injury.
Came on for the last 10 minutes. The definition of a player completely bereft of confidence, despite having bagged goals for fun at Brentford. Equally, an expensive purchase for Bruce, who needs to look capable of fitting in and delivering quickly.