For most part against QPR, the effort and application of the Aston Villa team was there, as an away team having 68% possession is not exactly commonplace (especially for a Villa team). Accordingly, most players scored 6 in the below ratings, because at least they were up for it.
Despite some Villa supporters lashing out in frustration on social media, due to the result, the reality is, Villa aren’t far away from picking up more positive results.
What was missing was the finishing touches, a bit of know-how or that over-used term, a bit of quality.
Also, QPR, were no mugs. Steve McClaren has got the West Londoners playing a very effective counter-attacking game. Solid in defence and effervescent going forward.
Meanwhile, Smith’s Villa have had to play three games within six days, after the Villa Head Coach has only spent a few days training with the entire squad due to the international break.
As mentioned on MOMS before, Smith has the tricky situation of needing results to keep Villa’s season alive, why he tries to educate his players and transition the way they play.
As the fixtures get tougher though, the team must cut out blatant errors as that will ultimately undermine everyone’s efforts.
Aston Villa Player Ratings
Orjan Nyland – 6
Apart from some routine saves, Nyland wasn’t really tested in terms of his overall game. Now that he has a regular back four in front of him, hopefully that will improve his decision making.
Alan Hutton – 6
Clumsy coming forward at times, although he almost got on the end of a McGinn free kick to score. I’ve said everything I need to say about Hutton’s strengths and weaknesses. It is what it is. If Villa aren’t getting results with him in the team though, he’ll be phased out this season, as Villa will need to start looking to the future.
Neil Taylor – 6
Had his work caught out against a lively QPR forward line, got a decent block in on Eze, whom Villa did well to contain for the most part.
James Chester – 6
Got completely caught out for the QPR goal, which was ultimately well finished. Had the most clearances of any Villa player, but is playing at a level where if there was other centre back options, you’d maybe consider a change.
Axel Tuanzebe – 6
Not as comfortable as in previous appearances, but still attempted to play from the back (94.2% passing completion). Registered a couple of shots on target, only matched by Bolasie, but nothing really threatening.
Birkir Bjarnason – 6
Unfortunately went off injured before half-time after a bright start to the game.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 5.5
A bit of an indifferent game to be fair. It says a lot about the situation of the two loaned wingers, if Elmohamady is still getting picked above them by Dean Smith.
Jack Grealish – 7.5 MOTM
Made inroads in the oppositions penalty box in the first hour of the game, but towards the end of the game was picking up the ball deeper and deeper. Pulled a shot wide in the first half and hit the post with a cheeky free kick. All in though, he was Villa’s main man with the most touches (100) and a very decent 95.5% pass completion considering the amount he saw of the ball.
John McGinn – 7
With the tenacious McGinn constantly scraping in the midfield, it certainly helps swing the possession meter in Villa’s favour. He almost opened the scoring, but sliced his shot, while he also made a great diving block to deny Eze in the second half. Most impressive though are some of his neat spins and rolls to keep possession of the ball.
Jonathan Kodjia – 6
Got into some beef on the stroke of half-time after kicking the ball at a QPR player that seemed to distract him in the second half. Struggling to make an impact this season.
Tammy Abraham – 6.5
Again, didn’t quite have his scoring boots with him, despite fashioning several good chances. Surely it’s only a matter of time until he bags a brace or two.
Off The Bench
Yannick Bolasie (64) – 6
Glen Whelan (41) – 6
Did a job in keeping QPR at arm’s length for the most of the second half and was reasonably tidy in possession.
Manager Rating – 6
To have three games in very quick succession after only a few days of training with a full squad is never easy for any manager, never mind one working with the players for the first time.
One substitute was forced with Bjarnason’s injury coming at a bad time, while giving Bolasie a good 25 minutes plus to try and spark something different was a logical option.
Will be looking to reverse the recent Sky TV hoodoo against Bolton.
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