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By Scott Smith  

 

Having done a MOMS half-season player report on Aston Villa’s season, MOMS’s Scott Smith returns to give his season end diagnosis of the players. One of the downsides of being paid thousands a week, as a player? People going around rating your performance A to F! We were thinking of calling it ‘The Good, Bad and the Ugly’, but thought that might be just a little too harsh. Instead, we look at the ‘Good’, The Not So Good’, ‘Potential’ and the ‘Potential Goodbyes’. UTV

 

End of Season Grades

THE GOOD

 

Brad Guzan

One Word. Revelation! To think this man was going to be let go by the previous regime, so brilliant business to bring him back and he has arguably been the signing of the season.  Consistently superb and has barely put a foot wrong.  A commanding presence at the back and deservedly picked up awards at the end of season awards.  A real contender for Premier League team of the season.

RATING: A+

 

Matthew Lowton

A superb signing that has gone from strength to strength as the season went on. Lowton uses the ball very well and possesses a good engine. He has provided some glorious opportunities for the strikers, in particular his delivery for Villa’s third goal at Everton and in his man of the match display in the 6-1 demolition of Sunderland.  If he can improve his defensive position which is at times found wanting this lad could turn out to be one of the best signings the club has made in the Premier League.  His goal at Stoke is one of the highlights of the season and contender for Premier League goal of the season.

RATING: A

 

Ron Vlaar

A good leader.  Unfortunate with injuries but has really been a positive influence for the club this season.  If we can keep him off the treatment table and work the defensive unit as a whole Vlaar will really shine.  Culpable for a couple of goals this season, most notably from balls in to the box where he miss timed his leap, but an important member of this squad.  Wonderful goal against Sunderland.

RATING B

 

Vlaar Millwall
Vlaar still room for improvement. Maybe helped by another more season defender alongside him

 

Ashley Westwood

Superb signing.  Neat and tidy, with a great passing range and the ability to control the tempo of a game.  Considering his size has shown his intelligence to mix it in a physical battle and come away with the ball, most notably in the game against Stoke.  A very intelligent midfielder.  If we can add a goal scoring midfielder to play alongside him we will really see the best of Westwood. We have two players in Delph and Sylla that will be his legs and aggression, but the one thing we are missing from all three is goals.

RATING: A

 

Gabriel Agbonlahor

One word. Vital.  Some people love him, some people hate him, but one thing you have to say is we need him.  OK granted his form dips during the season and sometimes is awful BUT he is a vital member of his club.  Gabby scores vital goals at crucial times for us and is a big game player.  His pace, strength and ability to get on the score sheet is the sort of player we need and his link up play has definitely improved under Paul Lambert.

RATING: B+

 

Andreas Weimann

What a season.  A nearly man for the past couple of seasons has made him self a vital part of the side.  One thing I will say about him is he pops up with goals which is a good habit to have at a young age.  His movement is intelligent, and his work rate is the sort that a Paul Lambert side usually displays.  I still believe he has an awful lot of improvements to make and his goals have really got himself and us out of trouble this season.  How effective will he be in games when he is not scoring goals that is what will determine how useful he will be for this club.  Whilst he is scoring goals it is positive and a good thing but he really needs to improve his link up play which has often been found wanting and will quite happily list a dozen examples.  That being said he has been one of our shining lights this season.

RATING: A-

 

Benteke and Weimann = exciting times ahead for Villa
Benteke + Weimann = exciting times ahead for Villa

 

Christian Benteke

Signing of the season? Absolutely! £7m is a bargain.  A complete striker that is unplayable at times, strong on the ball, strong in the air, the ability to run past people and score all kinds of goals.  Can we keep hold of him? Only time will tell, but he is certainly a player that will be talked about for many years.  I would say he is the most complete striker I have seen at the club.

RATING: A+

 

THE NOT SO GOOD

 

Barry Bannan

Here is a player with unquestionable ability, a good range of passing, good vision and a high work rate.  However there is something with this kid that just doesn’t cut it.  He is often trying to play a Hollywood pass for no reason, and is often shrugged off the ball far too easily.  What Barry Bannan will turn up on match day? The one where he can take the game by the scruff of the neck like he did vs Manchester United a couple of seasons back, or the Barry Bannan that over hits every free kick, and wasteful in possession.

RATING: E

Karim El Ahmadi

When we signed this player he looked the part.  Neat and tidy in possession, with the ability to pick a pass and put his foot in.  His performances got worse as the season went on.  Often finding himself in the book for needless fouls, often in dangerous positions, and the question had to be asked “what is he giving to the side that other players in the side aren’t giving”? I named three players above that can do what he does but offer more…..Sylla – Good engine, Westwood – ability to pick a killer ball, Delph – the ability to drive forward.  So what use is El Ahmadi to us, that becomes the ultimate question?

RATING: D

 

Joe Bennett

Defensively disastrous but is very useful going forward.  The vast majority of Villa fans would agree with me on this that he is undoubtedly Villa’s weakest link and has been at fault for a large portion of Villa’s goals this season.  His defensive position is horrendous, and reminds me at times of a school kid that panics and just runs around to look like he is doing something.  That being said he has shown qualities going forward that we want in a full back and that is the willingness to get forward and deliver a decent ball in to the box.  Is he worthy of another season? Absolutely! Just to see if we see an improvement.  However is he worthy of another season as first choice left back? Absolutely not!

RATING: D

 

Erik Lichaj

Lichaj is a very frustrating player to say the least.  He loves to get forward and can deliver a good ball when he gets in to those areas.  Lichaj has demonstrated a good engine but has been very inconsistent with his performances.  He has shown the ability both defensively and offensively but is often very sloppy and switches off a lot which has proven costly.  If we can add consistency to his game he could be a useful full back for us.

RATING: D

 

THE POTENTIAL

 

Nathan Baker

A big progression in Baker’s game has seen him cement a place in the back four.  A heart on the sleeve type defender, that will put his body on the line.  At times he can panic a little and look hurried in possession so with a little of composure and a level head we will really have a great centre back on our hands here.  A plus point of the season.

RATING: B-

 

Ciaran Clark

A good footballer, but personally I do not see him as a centre back that we can rely on.  A holding midfielder would be the ideal role for him.  As a centre back he is very rash by giving away daft free kicks in dangerous areas, often miss judges the flight of a ball, and often gets turned far too easy.  However his reading of the game is pretty good and he has time on his side but at this moment in time I would definitely say his place in the side as a centre back is under serious threat with the performances of Vlaar and baker and the ideal opportunity to sign a new centre back.  His composure and experience at international level will hopefully see him build on the potential he has shown over the last few seasons.

RATING: C

 

Sylla developing fast
Sylla developing fast game by game

 

Yacouba Sylla

A nervous and cautious start to his Villa career, but I think fans are starting to appreciate the ability this man possesses.  His all action style and phenomenal engine is a great asset.  He will put his foot in and win the ball back, and a useful asset in winning the ball back high up the pitch which really contributes the speed we have up front in breaking on teams.  A t times he is a little cautious in the final third, opting to play sideways and backwards rather than look for the killer ball, but I think after a good pre-season with the side where he can develop an understanding he will come in to his own.  His vision and precision pass for Benteke’s goal against Chelsea was a sign of what he can do

RATING: C

 

Fabian Delph

Not the fans favourite by any means, but as the season has gone on he has won over a lot of the fans, me included.  The problem Delph faced early in the season is that he was asked to do a role that three other players in the side can do and do better than him.  As the season has gone on he has had the freedom to express himself a bit more.  Delph is very good on the ball, possess a good engine and a good driving force in the middle.  If he can improve his decision making and know when to let the ball go and improve his discipline then we will finally have what we all hoped for and that is an all action midfielder, who will hopefully add goals to his game.

RATING: B-

 

The Next Gen

Aston Villa Next Gen players went on to lift the European cup for their age and have a great array of talent amongst that squad.  It would be great to see the likes of Burke, Carruthers, Grealish and others get their chance next season.

RATING: A+

 

THE POTENTIAL GOODBYES

 

Charles N’Zogbia

This is one player I cannot understand!  Talent to burn terribly inconsistent.  Undoubtedly one of the best players in the squad, but we do not see enough of it.  That being said he has played a crucial role this season in various games in particular West Ham and QPR where he changed the game.  Lambert appears to want that all action, high tempo and big work rate from all members of his side, this is something that you will not get from N’Zogbia week in and week out.  If we can get him playing consistently he will be a great asset, if not then he could be one of the first players out of the door in the summer.

RATING: C

 

bentlime
Darren Bent Villa pretty much got a decent half-a-season out of him for the multimillion transfer fee he cost

Darren Bent

It is evident this man is not wanted by Paul Lambert.  Bent is a proven goalscorer, but contributes very little else.  In boxing, styles make fights, at football clubs  styles make careers.  If a manager wants an all action style from his front three then unfortunately Bent does not fit into that.  If we was playing a 442 which personally I do not think we are comfortable at doing, then Bent would probably get in the side.  His days at Aston Villa are numbered and I wish him nothing but the best as he got us out of trouble when he signed and deserves respect from the fans.

RATING: D

 

Brett Holman

An eye for goal, and a superb work rate, however he is extremely wasteful in possession.  For a professional footballer I find it hard to believe at times how bad he passes a ball.  He has shown a great ability to score goals but his all round game does not warrant a place in the side which is a shame because his work rate is admirable.

RATING: D+

 

Shay Given

Shay has been a superb goalkeeper in the Premier League and was last season for us, but he will be leaving the club in the summer and I wish him all the best in the future as I do not believe it would be worthwhile from all parties if he stayed at the club.

RATING: D

 

Richard Dunne

Good servant, but his days are numbered, at the moment all he is doing is occupying a space on the pay roll and keeping the physio busy.  Goodbye Dunne!

RATING: F

 

Stephen Ireland

Enough said…just look at the pictures instead:

RATING: F

 

stephen ireland bradford

irelandlimescover

The look of a man in need of a goal

 

Alan Hutton

Get your coat Alan!

RATING: F

 

Marc Albrighton

This is a player that really needs to pursue his career else where to get a fresh start.  I do not believe he fits in to this style that Lambert is going with and does not offer anything more than what we currently have.

RATING E

 

Chris Herd

Herd has a very good work rate and filled in as a third centre back this season which really was out of his depth.  I would be surprised if he figures much or at all next season.

RATING E

 

Enda Stevens

Stevens has found life very difficult at the club.  In and out of the side and unfortunately has not demonstrated enough to convince me that he should stay at the club next season.

RATING E

 

If you disagree with the ratings, please add yours in the comments section below. UTV

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with most ratings but Vlaar has been awful when he’s been in the team. He’s crap under a high ball, positionally poor and offers nothing for the younger players to learn from. Baker is a lumbering, mistake-filled championship quality player and no better. I wouldn’t give Bennett the benefit of a second season either, he’s simply not good enough to defend in the Premier league. For those fighting Albrighton’s corner: get a grip. He’s got no pace, no strength on the ball and every cross is either woefully underhit into the first man or clears the box for a throw from both open play and dead balls. Now is the perfect time to clear out the dead wood and continue rebuilding.

    • Davido7 I think you need to rethink your views. Vlaar is in his first season and coming in with injuries to a team that had school boys playing week in week out was a big ask for the man. Give him a good partner at CB and he will be great. Baker is so young to play every week and this season will have fast tracked his development. I would say he has a great future ahead of him. Bennet has great frailties at the back and great plays going forward. He needs to learn and a more experienced left back ahead of him in the pecking order will probably help him develop. I think you will see an improved bennet next term. Albrighton has not really had opportunity to play properly since MON. He has ability and loves the club. He is a good squad player and certainly not a player to get rid of. Still think he has a lot to offer.

  2. Albrighton is a fantastic player, he was brilliant for us during Hollier’s term at the club, if he stops getting injured, he will be extremely useful next season! COME ON YOU VILL!

  3. Agree with most of your ratings but you cannot be serious about vlaar the guy is useless. He is slow has poor positioning sense and cannot defend set pieces properly to save his life. Plus he is error prone. He set a poor example to the youngsters a few weeks ago saying he would leave if we went down. For a so called experienced player he just hasn’t cut it on or off the pitch.

    • Dwightyorke Put it this way, I understand why none of the top 6 in the Prem went in for Vlaar. I notice nobody uses the word ‘concrete’ anymore to describe him. That was a club invention anyway, via the website. They should let players earn their nicknames from the supporters!

  4. I think most of the ratings are well justified, but for me, i think Marc needs one more season to show what he can do. If Lambert can get out of him  the form we saw in Houllier’s reign, then he would turn out to be invaluable to us! Think Bennett, has the potential, but needs to be more consistent. Started to get better at the end of the season. UTV!

  5. I agree with most of your ratings of our players but feel strongly about marc albrighton I feel he is the best crosser of a ball in the whole squad, he has been hampered with injury and I for one is sure he deserves to stay at villa park and fight for his right to play first team football next season UTV.

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