After four defeats in their last five outings and three away losses on the trot, Sheffield United should have been there for the taking for Villa.
When the hosts were 2-0 up after 10 minutes it looked to be a formality, after a penalty by Albert Adomah and a header by Mile Jedinak.
Two terrible mistakes soon after though by Jedinak allowed former Blue-nose Clayton Donaldson to score a brace and level the scores.
Adomah had a great chance for 3-2 before half-time, but in the second half it seemed likely it’d end 2-2 with both teams struggling to create any momentum or craft regular chances.
Based on December’s haul so far of three points from a possible 12, Villa are now looking far from an automatic promotion contender.
Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Sheffield United
Sam Johnstone – 6
Won’t be too happy with Mile Jedinak who wiped out any chance of a clean sheet with two terrible mistakes. Could Johnstone have prevented the second goal? Maybe, it did go through his legs. Made a couple of decent saves to make sure Villa didn’t lose the game.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6
A decent cross by Elmohamady served it up on a plate for Adomah, who should have made it 3-2, but the left-winger headed wide. After being switched further forward after De Laet came on for Snodgrass, Elmo didn’t really force himself on the opposition like he should have.
Mile Jedinak – 4
After a shonky performance against Derby, Jedinak surely played his last game at centre-back for Villa. His casual approach seems to suggest Jedinak thinks he’s some kind of Franz Beckenbauer, but his positioning on the first United goal and his poor touch leading to the second, werre embarassing to watch.
With or without his goal, Villa would have probably have won the game if Jedinak hadn’t presented Sheffield United with some early Christmas gifts.
James Chester – 6
Couldn’t do anything to make up for Jedinak’s mistakes. Wasn’t totally composed in the game and is no doubt praying for the return of Terry, ASAP.
Neil Taylor – 5
Could have cost Villa when he didn’t get goal side and allowed Leon Clarke a perfect opportunity for United to go 3-2 up. Needs to go forward with more conviction, which he has shown signs of doing in other games.
Glen Whelan – 5
Mr Backwards. Passes again went wayward and his completion rates (for what they are worth) are down on his more tidy showings in previous months. Made the odd minor mistake that he needs to iron out.
Robert Snodgrass – 5
Despite a decent delivery from the freekick that set up Jedinak’s headed goal, it was another indifferent performance by Snodgrass, who failed to get into the game and was unsurprisingly subbed before the hour mark.
Conor Hourihane – 6.5
Hourinhane showed signs of promising link-up play with Jack Grealish, but again sat a little deep. Overall he was very much in the thick of it with the most touches and wasn’t wasteful with his passing unlike some of his midfield colleagues. His shots though tended to be more hopeful than anything.
Keinan Davis – 6
Another performance full of hustle and bustle. Won the penalty (soft), that Adomah opened the scoring with. Tended to be a little isolated, but at least gave the attack a focal point. Was unlucky not to do better with a header.
Jack Grealish – 6
Always looked for the ball, but often met with two or three United players when he got it. Also, he tended to be snuffed out by the visitors two holding players.
Albert Adomah – 7 MOTM
A cooly dispatched penalty was his first contribution, but Adomah should have scored a third for Villa in the first half after a great delivery from Elmohamady gave him a point blank header chance. Still, he remained Villa’s main threat throughout.
Off the Bench
De Laet (58) – 5
Showed a turn of pace on occasions, but didn’t do anything with real purpose when he got forward.
Gabriel Agbonlahor (72) – 5
Hardly touched the ball.
Hogan (72) – 5
Had less touches than Gabby.
Team Performance – 6
It looked like it was going to be a Merry Christmas at Villa Park, until Jedinak’s two mistakes. While Villa had plenty of the ball they struggled to break United’s resolve
Agree with Jinsky and Paul. Another awful performance, now we give away a two goal lead. If we continue with the same inept team selection I can’t see us making the play offs, also why does Bruce play Jedinack as CF when he’s clearly out of position and out of his depth, we really have problems I’m becoming less and less impressed with Davis who tries but is definitely no striker, I keep on asking why isn’t O’Hare playing not even in the squad, surely we should be playing two up front and for me that’s Hogan and O’Hare.why not drop Jedinack and push Davis into the CF position well it has to be worth a go It’s frustrating seeing our play off chances just slipping away and our manager just telling everyone we’re just giving games away. Desperately disappointing.
Another poor performance against teams we must beat and teams with poor form. Players out of position. No pattern of play. No striker. While Davies has done well at leading the line he does no damage. 2 goals in 22 games is not a striker is it. If the manager could get what others have had from Hogan and Mc Cormack . We might be in the top 2! Why buy players and not play to their strengths. You would not put Odomah in goal. Bruce has had over a year an inherited strong squad and spent a fortune. Far more than other teams. He looks as far away from a promotion team as he did when he took over. If you change your thinking now Bruce we could still get up. If you carry on the way ypu are other teams will pass us and we won’t even make the play offs.
The Sheffield fans singing “2-0 and you f**ked it up” pretty much summed it up. Another dodgy team selection masterclass. Picking Jedinak at centre back again after recent performances made no sense. Chester, who was looking solid with Terry along side him, is now being dragged down by the poor performance of others. Snodgrass and Whelan don’t deserve a place on current form. And any hand wringing from Bruce about only being able to bring in loan signings in January because of FFP can be dismissed when £12 million pounds worth of his signings (Hogan and Bjarnson) are on the bench, and Bruce has no idea how to integrate them into the side. Next up are Brentford and Middlesbro (both away) and Bristol City at home. Nine points to play for. Not confident we’ll still be inside the play-off places at the start of the New Year.
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