FULHAM 3-1 VILLA
A struggling performance between the sticks as Villa adapted to life with 10 men. Positionally left much to be desired at times and saw an effort easily struck across him into the net for Fulham’s third.
Not the Captain’s best performance and it reminded of earlier season showings amongst a back three. One of many players all over the place for the opening Fulham goal. One to forget.
Whilst Elphick appears to give a lot, we’ve not seen a great deal in respect of quality this term. Fulham was no different, with him always seemingly trying to recover a lost situation. Elphick also provokes a perhaps irrational fear, also whilst appearing within a back three. Tries hard, but not nearly good enough again on this showing.
Baker gave a typically determined and physical performance, which was often undone by poor composure, when on the ball. Contributed a couple of telling blocks at key moments, preventing the score worsening. Was unfortunate to deflect Fulham’s second beyond Johnstone.
Bree (3) (Sub off 70 mins)
Endured a torrid time at fullback as Fulham exploited the space. Offered little going forward and arguably looked a little of the pace. Persisted, but to little effect until withdrawn for Alan Hutton.
Hutton (-) (Sub on at 70 mins)
An unusual substitute given that Villa were looking for a goal, but given Bree’s struggles, a perhaps inevitable substitution. As has recently been the case, Hutton provided immediate “effort”, but little substance overall as Villa succumbed to a third Fulham goal.
Many continue to be under-whelmed by Gary Gardner & this performance served to underline his apparent limitations. Villa will require capable back-ups within the squad ahead of next season; it’s hard to see Gardner being amongst those options. A tame and largely anonymous showing.
Not the best day at the office for the the Aussie Captain. Whilst Jedinak hoovered up what he could of Fulham’s advances, he couldn’t do everything [nor should he be expected]. Another shortcoming is Jedinak’s range of passing, which was clear for all to see in advanced positions on more than one occasion at Craven Cottage.
An outstanding curling, powerful strike to bring Villa back into the game reminds us of Grealish’s supreme talent. The trouble is, we see it all too sparingly. Bruce will likely have much to ponder with Jack, who produced another singular moment of telling quality, but little else of note otherwise.
Amavi (3) (Sub off 78 mins)
The Frenchman continues to be a defensive weak-link after yet another mare of a performance. Amavi could easily be labelled the latest “scape-goat”, but simply put, this was just another glaringly poor performance.
Hepburn-Murphy (-) (Sub on 78 minutes)
A largely uneventful cameo for a player, who arguably given the fixture could have been risked much earlier.
Hogan (5) (Sub off 81 mins)
Another display that provided worries for others rather than Hogan. Once more we witnessed clever, on the shoulder runs made by the big money signing, only to watch the opportunity pass us by. Our inability to find Hogan with a clever throughball is as alarming as it must be frustrating for the frontman.
Hourihane (-) (Sub on 81 mins)
Another short cameo, featuring good and poor balls in equal measure. Not enough to judge the man on today and would surely have been a better option over Gardner for one.
No score for our leading goalscorer who fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book to see red. Whilst undoubtedly fouled and likely kicked out at by the Fulham man, his reaction, an immature kick out earned him an early bath. Villa’s game-plan was then out of the window – and the game – and his season was over.