After joking around with the player ratings in the two away defeats, the current MOMS survey suggested readers would also like to see some proper player ratings…
Bristol City Fall Out
Steve Bruce’s shackling of Villa’s intention by playing three centre-backs perhaps allowed Bristol City to gain the initiative easier than they would have expected.
In the end, the result was fair enough. The Robins certainly looked more comfortable and a lot more cohesive as a team going forward, without really threatening the Villa backline. While Villa only really played in spurts and were not helped by their starting formation and then having to change it.
Is the answer to Villa’s poor away form to have an even more cautious mindset? MOMS doesn’t think so. In the last couple of games, the team had started to play with more confidence an freedom. Whether this game was home or away, Bruce should have kept to the winning formula of Norwich and approached the game with more attacking intent from the off.
With the Villa away crowd taking over, an early high-tempo attacking onslaught may have set a different tone to the game rather than have the players struggle to get to grips with a new system.
While the possession stats (51%-49% in favourite of Bristol) and attempts at 12 each, were pretty equal, the Robbins eight corners to Villa’s one suggests their possession was a little more constructive.
Is the trick to improve Villa’s away fortunes simply taking the game to the opposition and playing on our own terms? With the players we have at this level, it probably is, you know.
Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Bristol City
Sam Johnstone – 6
Solid and wasn’t at fault with the goal. Rarely troubled into making many saves.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 5
First stab at right wing-back for Villa, as Bruce played three centre-backs. Didn’t really force the issue in the first half and spent more time defending. Lacked a little zip and accuracy on his early crosses. Will be interesting to see if he starts after the international break.
James Chester – 6
Looked a little disoriented on the right-side of three centre-backs. Distracted by the offside player on Bristol’s goal, but apart from that reliable as usual.
John Terry – 5
Not exactly a vintage performance by Terry. Struggle to get much purchase of some of his headers,
Chris Samba – 6
Had an okay game blocking and tackling wise, but his presence was instead of a more attacking player, which ultimately compromised the ambition of the team. Subbed at half-time.
Neil Taylor – 6
A no thrills and steady performance. Perhaps needed to offer a bit more going forward, as he tended to side on caution, playing it back instead of attacking Bristol’s fullback.
Glenn Whelan – 5
At times was a little lost and easily bypassed by Bristol City’s slick teamwork approaching the final third. Didn’t seem to have a grip on the situation, as much as you’d hope considering his experience. Playing with three at the back didn’t help, as Whelan was often taken out of the equation by diagonal balls from midfield to wide areas.
Andre Green – 6
It was a typical Green performance. Plenty of probing down the left flank, but no definitive end product.
Joshua Onomah – 8 (MOTM)
Undoubtably Villa’s best performer. The drive and brain of Villa’s midfield. Rarely wastes a pass and at times shows great vision. Not afraid to run with the ball at every given opportunity. A breath of fresh air.
Conor Hourihane – 6
A little ominous in Bristol’s final third later on, but had a few opportunist strikes in the first half. After his hat-trick against Norwich, this was a case of ‘after the lord mayor’s show…’
Keinan Davis – 7
Davis is clearly proving he’s the real deal. Again he demonstrated good feet and tended to beat his marker as soon as he received the ball, allowing him to create opportunities to bring in his teammates (or win freekicks). He saw less of the ball than against Norwich, but maybe a better tactic would have been to get the ball to him more often, as he makes things happen.
Off the Bench…
Bree – 6 (45)
Fairly solid. Hasn’t done anything to harm the fact he should get a run of starts to help him progress properly.
Birkir Bjarnason – 6 (80)
Always tried to make things happen when he came on for his cameo. His main contribution was a speculative shot that went wide from distance
Hogan – 6 (79)
Didn’t really have much chance to impress and impose himself in the final minutes. It would be interesting to see him play off Davis, if Bruce can find the formation to suit.