If you looked up the term ‘crappy game’ in the dictionary, then this match may be there as an example. It was lacking in quality, entertainment, ideas, and most of all, football. It’s amazing players get paid five figures a week to serve up such a non-descript version of the game.
There was no ebb or flow to the game and in the end, it was a surprise there was any goals.
Ultimately, it was a typical Bruce performance that shouldn’t have a future at this club, if it has any remaining ambitions of promotion.
It’s one win in the last nine games now…
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Orjan Nyland – 4
Now, I’m going to need to see a replay on the opening goal, but deflection or not, it looked saveable. Still shaky with poor judgement on crossed balls. Bruce was surprised that Villa bought Gollini, but wasn’t as surprised as I am that he bought Nyland.
Axel Tuanzebe – 6
Doesn’t really do much beyond the bare necessities at right-back. The fact he had the most touches of any Villa player (78), suggests Villa weren’t doing much special for most of the game. Should have had a run at centre-back by now and easing into the position. Results wouldn’t have been any worse.
Alan Hutton – 6
Again got caught out early doors, but overall a steady performance, as we’ve come to expect.
James Chester – 6
Lost out on a few challenges, but to be honest, Villa weren’t under the cosh much, so Chester didn’t really have to raise his game.
Mile Jedinak – 6.5
A comfortable night for Jedinak, with more aerials won (10), than the rest of the Villa backline put together. We know why he’s playing at centre-back, it’s because Nyland is useless at crosses and commanding his box.
Conor Hourihane – 6.5 MOTM
Always looked the most likely player to create something and had a couple of notable efforts and also delivered the cross for Villa’s equaliser.
Jack Grealish – 6
Spent most of the time face down on the turf, which won Villa plenty of free kicks. Very much a marked man. Again, overplayed at times and didn’t offer that much-needed spark of inspiration.
John McGinn – 6.5
Always running. McGinn had decent snap shot saved in the second half and cleared a Bristol off the line with seven minutes to go. Didn’t see as much of the ball as normal, in fact, he had less touches than any other Villa midfielder (43).
Birkir Bjarnason 6.5
A long overdue return for Bjarnason and he got Villa back into the game with a decent header in the final second of the first half. He almost got on the end of another Hourihane freekick too afterwards. Found it hard to get in the game overall, but you could say that about a lot of Villa’s players.
Jonathan Kodjia – 5
Seemed clueless at times and without a clear role. Played wide at times, but without any clear strategy and was often seen to deep, he was helping out Tuanzebe at fullback. A lost soul.
Tammy Abraham – 5.5
Again, another frustrating game for Abraham. No real service. He did manage to get the ball in the net, but it was offside. He certainly wasn’t impressing today. May have picked up a knock, as he was subbed on the 90 minute mark.
Off the Bench
Albert Adomah (89) – NA
Late sub. One touch.
Yannick Bolasie (74) – 5
Made zero impression on the game when he came on. Expect to see him start on Tuesday night, because the team needs more than cameos from him.
Manager Rating: 3
In a completely directionless and scrappy game, Bruce didn’t exactly look to his bench to save the day. At times there was little true width, especially down the left, at times. It seemed random. Again, his substitutes were token gestures. Bolasie coming on, seemed to be a case of giving him a few minutes for fitness like in a preseason game, as opposed to brining him on to make any real impact.