Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Manchester United
By Charles Hay
Aston Villa’s 10-match unbeaten run and their 100% scoring streak under Unai Emery both ended at Old Trafford against Manchester United, as Bruno Ferandes’ early goal further cemented the home team’s Champions League position. The fight for Europe however is still very much on for Emery’s side. While perhaps Villa needed to beat United, if they had any ambitions of finishing higher than the resurgent Liverpool (who have a soft run-in), a Liverpool win against Spurs on Sunday ensured it was very much game-on for the final Europa League spot.
Emery though will be concerned by the continued absence of the quartet of Matty Cash, Boubacar Kamara, Leon Bailey and Philippe Coutinho, who would have
Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Manchester United
Emi Martinez – 7
Martinez made a few good saves, distributed the ball well, made good challenges covering behind Villa’s high line, and was unlucky to see Moreno’s deflection take Fernandes’ shot just over his arm.
Ashley Young – 6
Young dealt with Sancho reasonably well and got a good reception from Old Trafford when he was substituted. Although starting to look tired after the amount of games the veteran has played recently, he’s still showing his quality. A decent cross at the start of the second half almost served up an equaliser
Ezri Konsa – 7
Another good performance from Konsa – 2 blocks, 97.8% pass accuracy (the best of the starting XI), and Rashford was kept relatively quiet. However, Rashford did get past him to set up the winner. Needs to play to the whistle, after getting away with stopping to wave his arm to signal offside, in the last couple of games. Potentially could have got an equaliser when the ball came off him from a corner, only to deflect off him in the wrong direction.
Tyrone Mings – 7
Eight clearances helped relieve a lot of pressure from the Villa defence, and help get the team’s high line back up the pitch. Again, his longer balls were on point, helping Villa get going at the opposite end.
Alex Moreno – 7
His early shot that cleared off the line by United, turned out to be Villa’s best chance of the match. He was unlucky to see his block from Fernandes’ effort just flick up over his goalkeeper’s arm. The Spaniard was a constant threat down the left-hand side and did well throughout, pushing the team up and creating chances. His 91.7% pass accuracy backs up his effectiveness on the left-hand side.
Dendoncker – 6
The Belgian went mostly missing, as United largely bypassed him, when they attempted to trick Villa’s highline. Dendoncker perhaps needed to step up in the midfield to take the fight to United more, but he was playing against some class acts in Casemiro and Fernandes. Overall, he struggled to get any traction in a swamped midfield.
Douglas Luiz – 6
Again, was second best against United midfield. He did pretty well defensively, with four tackles and a block, and offensively had his shot cleared off the line by Lindelof. His injury-time free kick didn’t find a target, when perhaps Digne should have had a pop.
John McGinn – 7
The Scotsman had a couple of shots and won six fouls, and remained one of the most likely players to make something happen for Villa, although perhaps could have done better with one of his attempts. Perhaps, if Leon Bailey was fit, Emery would have been tempted to utilise McGinn in the middle, instead of Dendoncker, and try and take the fight to Casemiro. Still, this is a better version of McGinn than we’ve seen in the past couple of seasons.
Jacob Ramsey – 6
JJ had an interesting afternoon, getting taken out time and again by Casemiro, and was largely neutralised by it, with just one cross and a shot off target to his name. After scoring in the last two games against United, Erik ten Hag realised that he was potentially Villa’s secret sauce against them, so dealt with him.
Emi Buendia – 5
Buendia has had a frustrating last couple of weeks, but this was his most frustrating showing yet under Emery. A poor day for the Argentinian, misplacing just under half of his passes (56.3% completion). United were ultimately not bothered by him. It’s a shame Bailey or Coutinho aren’t fit at the moment to step in and allow him to refocus.
Ollie Watkins – 6
13 touches says it all. The striker was isolated completely, so it isn’t surprising he didn’t do anything. A mere nine passes shows how little the ball came to him, and you can’t do anything if you never receive the ball. Again, if Bailey was fit and a potential out ball to give the United backline something else to think about, Watkins would have had more space and joy.
On this own and with teams doing their homework on him, the likes of Fulham and United, have dealt with him quite comfortably.
Off the Bench
Traore (‘63) – 6
Also with 13 touches, but slightly more passes complete than Watkins. Same as before, couldn’t do much as didn’t have much of the ball. Also, doesn’t have the pace to tear up the United backline.
Callum Chambers (‘63) – 6
Got involved, even had a shot, and did well defensively
Digne (‘74) – 6
Sured up the left-hand side of defence. Maybe, just maybe, should have had a go at the free kick in the last seconds?
Jhon Duran (‘74) – N/A
Four touches. Bit of argy-bargy with Shaw. His standard cameo.
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Unai Emery – 6
Emery’s playing it out from the back style struggled to get through United’s swamping of the midfield, but when it did, Villa looked smart going forward and attacked with menace, and were unlucky on a few occasions. Emery very much restricted by injuries and lack of viable fit game changers on the bench. His four substitutes – ‘The Expendables’ had little impact, but the same XI from the get-go, gave a good account of themselves, but ultimately needed an extra attacking spark.
Hopefully the Wolves game can reinvigorate a Europa League push and line up those epic ‘winner takes it all’ home games against Spurs and Brighton.
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