Players Rated as Villa rain on Brightons title parade. High: DAVIS – Low: BACUNA

Aston Villa Brighton Holte End 2017


Johnstone (6.5)

A good overall performance in what could be his final appearance in a Villa shirt.  Pulled off a couple of impressive stops as Brighton pressed & saved the effort which led to penalty.  Distribution remains inconsistent & was guilty on one occasion of being drawn to the play rather than staying put.  6 cleans sheets out of his last 8 at Villa Park though, cannot be overlooked.

Bree (7)

The youngster, hampered by injury and n inexplicable return to form by Alan Hutton, impressed today.  Bree appears comfortable on the ball, technically gifted and it’s easy to forget he’s just 19 years old.  Always showing for the ball, industrious & unlucky with a fierce drive which narrowly dipped over the bar in the second half.  If nurtured properly, could well be a steal.

Chester (8)

A strong performance from the Captain who lost his central defensive partner midway through the second half to a debatable red card.  Chester was composed on the ball & positionally excellent.  Evidence of this was following Elphick’s error to allow Brighton in on goal in the second half.  Chester not only managed to intercept but cleared the danger.  A dependable showing.

Baker (5) (Red Card 63 mins)

Sent off for appearing to clip Baldock when through on goal; from which Brighton scored the resulting penalty.  A debatable given that the player had got the shot away before the contact was made & seemed harsh (and unexpected) live.  However, Baker barely protested the decision & perhaps the focus should lie on him losing & being the wrong side of his man in the first place.

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Taylor (7)

Another tidy showing from the fullback who adds much needed composure to the backline.  Taylor is one of few within the team with ability to both read the game & pick a pass.  He also looks to move the ball forwards, which is something else we desperately lack at times.  Assured at the back, with limited support from Amavi & when the opportunity presented, tried to make things happen.

Bacuna (3)

As baffling as his performances are his appearance in the starting eleven at all.  Can there be a more pointless Aston Villa footballer?  Lots of running around, rarely translates into any end product.  A cliche in football all too often, but never more appropriate for Bacuna.  Further, there was an unsavoury episode in the second half as he argued with the bench & Hourihane over his wish to take a freekick.  We saw a whiny, petulant & sulking individual; a reminder of the selfish individualism of which he was part of in our relegation.  Not good enough for the Premier League & certainly not good enough now.  One to be shipped out.

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Hourihane (6.5)

The Irishman grew into the game, like his counterpart Lansbury & came into his own in the second half.  Looks clever & dangerous when approaching the final third but needs games and confidence under his belt for sure.  Desperately unlucky with a fine free-kick, which was parried away by Brighton’s keeper David Stockdale

Lansbury (6)

Lansbury was a vocal & a protester of Sidwell & Co’s challenges, but struggled to impose himself similarly in the first half.  The second saw him become more expansive, but too many balls were wayward or wasteful.  Redeemed himself with relentless effort, winning a firm challenge as the game swung towards Villa & was a key driver of our moving the ball upfield with just 10 men.

Adomah (4) (Sub Off 61 mins)

Another performance from Adomah where you could be forgiven for wondering what he contributes.  The assists tally tells a different story, but too many key moments can be sub-par with the winger.  A particular break where he needed only slide in Hourihane was mucked up & he was very much an ineffective figure until his substitution.

Grealish (7) (Sub On 61 mins)

Unfortunate that after just 2 minutes of having come on that Villa went down to 10 men.  This changed the balance of the game & Grealish soon found himself deeper and chasing the extra man as Villa compensated.  However, Jack’s fresh legs provided fresh impetus – & he linked well with both Hourihane & Lansbury.  Brought down after good play for Hourihane’s well saved free-kick & inflicted the telling blow to Brighton’s title hopes with a good finish.

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Hogan (5) (Injured 45 mins)

Another starved & indifferent performance from the big money signing.  Cut a lost figure at times & his struggles now worsen to some degree as fans ponder the impact of youngster Davis on in his place.  Hogan’s withdrawel was enforced, after a nasty challenge inflicted upon his ankle by Steve Sidwell.  Bruce described the striker’s ankle as having buckled & we will have to wait and see the extend of any injury.  Injury aside, neither Villa’s support nor Hogan himself have yet to set to set the world alight.

Davis (8.5) (Sub on 45 mins)

An unexpected half of football for the youngster provided a great stage to demonstrate his potential.  To date we have had fleeting glimpses of him at senior level, but this showing inspires great confidence.  Physically imposing & willing to compete, Brighton struggled to cope with his presence.  Equally his movement appears versatile, with central runs to encourage the midfield to play the channels mixed in with movement across the pitch.  His hold up play stood out and link up play was another surprise.  Finally, Davis persevered with Villa down to 10 men & can count himself unlucky not to score from open play or be awarded two strong shouts for penalties.  Promising.

Amavi (5) (Sub off 65 mins)

Another erratic, indifferent performance from the Frenchman.  It’s difficult to know what Amavi’s strengths are in his current role in midfield or whether he indeed knows them himself.  Barely missed when sacrificed following Baker’s sending off.  A telling fact.

Elphick (4) (Sub on 65 mins)

The experienced centre half has been a massive disappointment this term & is now a worry in his own right when in the team.  Elphick also had the sharpness you’d expect from a player lacking confidence and regular first team football.  The former Villa Captain almost gifted Brighton the win with a dismal  back-pass to Johnstone.  Chester’s interception saved his blushes, but underlined why defensive recruitments are a must in the close-season.


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