Player Power Ranking Top 10: 1-5
5. Sam Johnstone 🔼
Last season many wanted to write the young keeper off before he even settled in. Initially he looked a little unsure, although he wasn’t helped too much by a defence shy of consistency.
Johnstone finished the season well, an additional loan period was expected, but doubts crept in about his commitment due to the prolonged nature of trying to finalise the loan for the season.
This season Johnstone has been a revelation and has finally provided the team with a safe pair of hands. He’s won valuable points along the way too; one such point being when saving Villa’s blushes at Villa Park against Brentford.
Importantly, you feel comfortable with him between the sticks now and that is something that has been missing at Villa since Brad Friedel. For that reason he deserves a top five spot.
4. James Chester 🔼
The Welsh international centre-back was Aston Villa’s Mr Dependable last season with 45 appearances, a lally that no other Villa player got close to in a season of transistion for the club.
This season, alongside Sam Johnstone, he’s the only player to play every minute of Villa’s 2017/18 league campaign so far.
While Villa perhaps over spent on him to prise him away from WBA, Chester has since been a rare committed player that Villa have got value for their money from.
Currently, with Terry’s upcoming period on the sidelines, Chester is the one player that Villa can ill-afford to lose to injury, if they want to stay on track in their promotion push.
As we stated in the last player ratings against Sheffield Wednesday, Chester’s made the most headed clearances (97) in Championship this season of any player.
It’s hard to see Chester willing to have a third season in the Championship, so promotion will probably be key in keeping him at the club.
3. Keinan Davis 🔼
Keinan Davis was like a new signing this season that didn’t cost the club anything. It would be nice to say that he’s saved us a lot of money, but unfortunately the money has already been spent on those who now sit on the bench or have been sent down under in the tradition of those stealing a living.
Davis has seemingly transformed playing in the first team into a player that is almost unrecognisable from the one that played for Villa U-23’s (certainly from MOMS’ experience of watching him in a handful of games at that level).
He’s shown tidy feet, a smart first touch, aggressive running and also an unselfishness in his hold-up play that has given Villa an extra dimension.
In short, he looks like the man most likely to link us up into playing like an actual team.
With a little more composure and luck, he would have added to his two goals this season. If the crossbar challenge was part of the game, then we’d have a serious weapon on our hands.
If Davis can improve his finishing, then we’ll have some player on our hands.
2. Albert Adomah 🔼
When recognised right-sided midfielders Elmohamady and Snodgrass were brought into the Villa squad during the summer transfer window, Albert Adomah must have thought, “Well, Mr Bruce clearly doesn’t seem to fancy me.”
The former Middlesbrough player’s first team position was majorly under threat. However, with long-term injuries to Villa’s young left-side players, Andre Green and Jack Grealish, Adomah played the left-wing role and has been nothing short of a revelation.
After being Villa’s goal maker last season with 10 assists, he’s turned into the team’s main goal scoring threat.
With five goals to his name, Adomah is Villa’s joint top goalscorer with Conor Hourihane. Drifting in from the left, he’s been like an extra striker when the ball has been delivered from the right.
Interestingly enough, he doesn’t have an assist to his name, which perhaps demonstrates the limitations of playing on the flank of your weaker foot.
Still, in terms of showing the kind of positive attitude Villa needs right now from all of their players, Adomah has been a shining example.
1. John Terry 🔼
At 36-years-old and having only made nine league appearances last season, John Terry was always a bit of a gamble considering the wages and bonuses Villa were going to have to pay him (MOMS discussed the John Terry gamble at length here).
Some in the media had already written off Terry as the worst signing of the season, before a ball was even kicked.
MOMS had often said on the My Old Man Said podcast, Villa needed a decorated old head in the team to give them a bit of know how and identity, although to be fair, we were thinking more in the midfield department.
Still, such top level talismans in any position are hard to find and although we’ll have to wait until the end of the season to truly judge whether Terry has been a success or not, it’s a case of so far, so good.
With seven clean sheets to their name, the centre-back partnership of Terry and Chester has started every game this season and has been the foundation of the team’s improvement from last season.
Once the back four found its feet after a shaky start to the season, Terry has hardly put a foot wrong and has been visibly vocal in rallying and instructing his teammates.
Terry will likely drop out of the next Top 10 due to his injury, but such was his performance level this season, the worrying question is what will be the impact of his loss to injury?
If Villa can survive the winter without his leadership, then there’s no doubt he’ll have a big part to play come the new year.
Terry will be 37 next month, so hopefully he’ll still make a full and fast recovery.
If Villa are to lift a trophy at the end of the season, whether it’s the Championship title or the Play-off trophy, it may depend on Terry actually wearing the Villa kit in games rather than putting on his kit just for the celebrations!