PRESTON 0-2 VILLA
After a tense weekend derby draw with Blues, Villa stepped up a gear at Deepdale to comfortably despatch Preston 2-0.
With an astute team selection from Bruce, the kind that arguably a manager only of his experience can gauge, Villa looked set up perfectly for the task at hand from the off.
A headed goal for Chester from a corner and a well worked Snodgrass goal saw Villa wrap the game up before half-time.
It was a game which caught the eye for individual performances, as much as it did for the fact that there are the makings of a very handy Villa team indeed.
Dominant in the air, plucking a number of tricky looped balls from harms way. An assured display, another clean sheet and continues to develop into a reliable stopper.
Composed, technically very good and largely untroubled at right back. One of his best performances since joining the club.
A top, top performance from the centre half who is forming a division best centre-half partnership alongside Terry. Rarely troubled, excellent with his feet, Chester also delivered the first goal, heading in from a corner. Excellent.
Another outstanding display of stamina, experience and glaring quality from the Captain. Whilst all knew of Terry’s pedigree when he arrived, few would have expected such a surge of both form and consistency. Week on week the displays ascend – this latest showing was superb – underlining the asset Terry could be this term.
A undeniably solid full-back performance from Hutton, who has staked his claim in Neil Taylor’s absence through injury. Rewarded for this effort and form against Preston (with Taylor available), Hutton put in another fine display. Selection ‘headaches’ of this sort, are the best type to have.
A gritty, productive performance from Snodgrass after a disappointing display against Blues. A goal and assist underlines what the Scot can bring when involved in the game and consistent in his own approach. Took his opportunity for a goal well, slotting coolly low beyond the keeper. Subbed on 88 minutes to deserved applause from the following Villa fans. A great shift.
Once more doing the dirty, oft unappreciated work of what is perhaps the Villa engine room. Further, Whelan may now be waking fans up to his purpose and role, with any number of nibbles at opposition heels, interceptions and calmly released possession. Whelan will not win any awards for ‘style’, but he didn’t put a foot wrong all evening.
A solid if unspectacular display from the Irishman who seemed to be tasked with tracking any movement across the Villa midfield. He did this job very, very well. Certainly shackled to a more defensive minded role, thus his offensive capabilities were one again muted. Therefore, didn’t have a sexy role in the side against Preston, but the midfield was dominant for it.
A quiet, at times tired looking performance. Despite this, constantly harried the opposition when they were in possession and linked well with Davis. Lacked composure with a great chance to make it 3-0.
A vastly improved showing after a poor display at St. Andrews last weekend. A return to the light-footed, forward thinking and technically impressive movement we’ve become accustomed to. Also delivered a clever deferred pass to assist Snodgrass’ goal. Wisely subbed 70 mins as he began to tire. Impressive showing.
As at Blues, a welcome sight at 70 minutes marauding onto the pitch. Immediately stamped his physical and positional qualities onto the game. Whilst Preston never looked capable of mounting a challenge, any suggestion was killed by the Aussie internationals introduction. A real asset.
A fiery, physical and no-nonsense display from a player who was unbelievably making just his tenth senior appearance. Davis once more produced a performance of both youthful promise; but it’s hard to ignore the mature attributes his game possesses. Unplayable at times & a frightening prospect.
The striker had another 20 minutes to catch the eye, but as the match faded into “game management”, there was little prospect of this being the night that Hogan’s fortunes turned. Cuts a figure both without a clear purpose and looks genuinely short of confidence. As such, the sympathy to concern barometer continues to move.