With the Blues recovering their home form in recent weeks with improved organisation leading to back-to-back 1-0 home wins and with Villa still unable to dictate games, a close low scoring affair was on the cards.
Not quite as predictable as the clappers that the Blues issued to there fans being used as missiles against Villa players though. What a dumb move and that’s not with hindsight, MOMS called that before the game.
76% of nearly 1500 supporters that voted in the MOMS Twitter pre-match poll were predicting a Villa win, but in the end the 0-0 stalemate could have gone either way.
Jota should have scored after an error by Conor Hourihane and Sam Johnstone got lucky when his clearance cannoned off a Blues player straight past him but wide of the post.
At the other end, Keinan Davis and Jonathan Kodjia both struck the woodwork late on.
It may have been 0-0, but arguably it was a better contest than the two games last season, although that isn’t saying much.
Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Birmingham City
Sam Johnstone – 6
Performed well in the hostile atmosphere, but there was a moment when he suddenly turned into Enckelman/Guzan, when deciding to roll the ball out to kick with a striker in close proximity. The balled rebounded off the player and went narrowly wide.
Something to learn from.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6
Had to face the Blues fans constantly throwing clappers and the like. His final ball wasn’t there going forward and his passes were sloppy at times. Still, played with plenty of heart.
John Terry – 8 (MOTM)
James Chester – 7
He made one or two top notch and vital interceptions and alongside Terry, held Villa together against a determined Blues team.
Alan Hutton – 7
Had to deal with Jota’s trickery all game and took out Vassell, who was giving Terry a bit of a tussle. Got forward at the end with a penetrating run to create the chance for Davis that hit the woodwork.
Hasn’t let the club down while playing left-back since Taylor has been suspended.
Glen Whelan – 7
He was in the wars today and looked like he was on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua fight come the end of the game. There was the odd error, but he played well overall, especially as the game worn on.
Robert Snodgrass – 6
A bit out of sorts to be fair, Villa needed him to step up in this fixture and get the game by the scruff of its neck.
Conor Hourihane – 6
A reckless pass would have gifted Blues a goal, if it wasn’t for some woeful finishing by Jota. While he put in an all-action display, he never gave Villa control in the middle of the park and at times was a little over run.
Josh Onomah – 5
Probably his most disappointing game in a Villa shirt. After a warm-up starting against Fulham, there was the potential for Onomah to be the spark of difference today, but never really adjusted to the intensity of the game.
Jonathan Kodjia – 6
Was almost the match-winner on a couple of occasions. He had a decent header directed at the top hand corner well saved by Tomasz Kuszczak. And then hit the woodwork minutes later as Villa started to have a go late on.
Albert Adomah – 6
Decent work rate and effort, but nothing came off for Adomah today, whether he was running at the Blues or trying to create link ups. His freekick before the final whistle perhaps summed up his day.
Off the Bench
Jedinak (59) – 7
Was a colossus in the air when he came on, winning every aerial duel he was involved in. He blunted Blues dominance from early in the second half and helped turn the tide.
Davis (73) – 7
He wasn’t on for long, but he certainly helped switch momentum and was desperately unlucky when he put his laces through the ball, after good work by Hutton, only to hit the bar. With Kodjia going off injured, he may be starting again against Preston.
Hogan (80) – N/A
Came on for the last 10 minutes and like his substitute performance against Wolves, only touched the ball four times.