It’s pretty much guaranteed there’s been hundreds of Aston Villa fans that have left early and missed the key late goals in both of Villa’s home games this season. This time round against Brentford, there were literally seconds left, when Jonathan Kodjia rose to head home Villa’s equaliser in a game they deserved at least a point from.
An improved performance from Villa saw them boss around 70% of the game, although at times their final ball let them down. Brentford known for controlling the midfield of previous encounters struggled to get a grip on the game and were limited to counter attacks, as Bruce set the team up to stifle and press the Bees. It lead to Villa winning possession further up the pitch, enabling them to launch attack after attack.
As Villa tired towards the end, they looked like letting the game slip after being impressive during the first hour or so. Nyland was forced into a series of saves at 2-1 to keep Villa in it, setting up one last hoorah deep into injury-time to rescue the point.
Villa Player Ratings vs Brentford Home
Orjan Nyland – 6
In his first two games, Nyland actually picked the ball out of the net more times than he’s made saves, thus not getting much chance to build up any confidence. The ball was in the net once again, before he could really get into the game. He came out well to close Brentford down at the start of the second half and made a couple of useful saves with Villa 2-1 down, but could he have done better for Brentford’s second? I think so. It was a bit of a lame parry. Still a work in progress.
Axel Tuanzebe – 6
Helped his captain out early doors and got forward more during the game than previous games. Don’t think he was to blame for the first goal, as there’s four players above him on that list. With the two new wingers coming in, they’ll be a bit of a shake up of the Villa team, so it’ll be interesting to see where Tuanzebe plays hence forth.
Alan Hutton – 6
A standard kind of Hutton performance. Could he have made more of an effort to get tighter to the player who supplied the cross for Brentford’s opener? Maybe. Could he have reacted first to Nyland’s parry that lead to the second Brentford goal? Maybe. I’m I being harsh? Maybe. But none of these are definitely maybe’s though.
Mile Jedinak – 6.5
Probably the best of his centre-back performances this season, but his positioning was questionable on Brentford’s opener. Still, I’m not convinced that the Aussie at centre-back should be a long-term thing.
James Chester – 6
Chester got mugged on the 10th minute mark, but Tuanzebe snuffed out the threat. You could also argue he was also at fault for Brentford’s opener. Not his most assured performance in a Villa shirt, but that’s in the context of a high standard.
Glenn Whelan – 7
Maybe Whelan should have picked up the opening goalscorer, after the centre-backs were caught ball watching, but largely he was in the right place at the right time throughout the game, anticipating and breaking up Brentford’s play. Also, he was the tidiest passer of all the starters with a 93.3% completion rate, albeit most were short balls. Did a job and didn’t compromise Villa going forward.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6.5
Elmo hesitates in his delivery sometimes with an extra touch, although it eventually served him well, when Villa profited off his late delivery to snatch the draw. At the back, when he dropped in defending set plays, he was sound and was wise to a clever short free kick just after the hour mark. With the new wingers coming in, where will Elmo play next week?
Jack Grealish – 7.5
Busy and bossed the game in the later stages of the first half and early on in the second. He got Villa back into the game, when they were 1-0 down. Still, in this game you saw what is clearly the question mark in terms of whether Grealish will be a real top player – his final judgement in terms of end product. As seen in Villa’s previous game, Grealish has the tendency to overplay it at times. Sometimes not picking the best time to shoot. Sort that out and the number goals and assists will double, maybe even treble.
John McGinn – 7.5
Again, McGinn impressed to suggest he must be one of the first names on the team sheet now. His delivery is on point pretty much every time and he showed endless running. While he supports his teammates going forward well, he was also particularly impressive when tracking back to cover runners. Something this team tends not to do well in recent seasons. He did get dispossessed in his own box late own, but Villa recovered the situation.
Jonathan Kodjia – 8 MOTM
The Kodjia improvement is not a myth. His brace saved Villa’s blushes and he was always dangerous, improvising as he went along, ala his first goal, when he had to make something from nothing. With the lack of (fit) forward options currently at the club, his resurgence is good news. Hopefully, the loan signings of new wingers will mean Kodjia will have more support and service up top.
Albert Adomah – 6
Active and was always scheming away on the left flank, but more often than not was let down by his delivery, although he did deliver a good chance that Kodjia fired straight at the keeper. That chance came from an early delivery with his left foot, often though the extra moment he had to take to adjust or to cut onto his right foot, cost him a few times, as the defender was allowed time to recover the situation.
Off the Bench
Andre Green (69) – 5
After Adomah’s wastefulness at times, it was a logical substitution by Bruce, but Green failed to make any impression. Green somethings can be a little one-dimensional running the channels. He’ll have to learn to make more of an impact from the bench with the new arrivals incoming.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (84) – N/A
Only managed three touches, so unfair to rate, although he did win the free kick that would lead to the equaliser.
Conor Hourihane (82) – 6
Hourihane ended up in a bit of agony shortly after he came on, after a misplaced pass back, put Villa in a spot of trouble in their own box. Still, perhaps the Irishman should have come on earlier, after his influence in recent games.