Aston Villa Top Fives – 3. Top 5 Improved and Disappointing Villa Players


The Improving and Disappointing Villa Players of the Season


By Scott Smith


Top 5 Most Improved Villa Players During the Season

People may say Nathan Baker could be in the top 5, I personally disagree.  Whilst he has established himself in the side, I would say that is down to how poor Clark has been.  Baker has done well and has shown what I always knew he had.  His cover positions are very good, he is strong in the tackle and puts his body on the line.  That being said, he still lacks composure on the ball, is often quite rash and is very flat footed (Wigan and Reading two perfect examples).  If he can improve his composure and anticipation he could really turn into a superb centre back.


Ashley Westwood - the one Villa midfielder assured a starting place next season
Ashley Westwood – the one Villa midfielder assured a starting place next season


5. Matthew Lowton – Lowton is a player who started the season quite well and has got better and better as the season went on.  When he first joined the club, he was very suspect to the ball in between him and his centre back and his defensive position was often horrendous.  He made up for that with his ability to go forward, a good engine and versatility.  As the season as gone on he has improved his defensive position, produced the goods in the final third a lot more and has looked superb at full back.


4. Andreas Weimann – Now personally this is a player that has  A LOT OF WORK to do, but his improvement has been evident with the amount of goals he has scored.  His movement is pretty good, his energy is fantastic and he is a good finisher.


3. Fabian Delph – This player has been around the first team for a number of years and never really shown anything.  The second half of this season though, saw him really starting to impress.  His all-action approach started to win fans over.  He needs to improve in the final third, where quite frankly he has been pretty awful and largely ineffective. Delph needs to improve his reading of the game which will come with age I hope, but his energy, his engine, ability to put a foot in and his driving runs have been a positive benefit to the team.  That being said, next season, I believe it will be a straight fight between him and Sylla for one position, IF we sign a creative/goal-scoring midfielder.  Westwood is pretty much guaranteed his place.


 2. Ashley Westwood – Okay, he has been consistant for the majority of the season, but  cast your minds back to his second game against Southampton, where he came on and was awful and really doubted himself.  He then had a long spell out of the side, but has not looked back since his return.  A commanding midfield performance with the ability to pick a pass.  Lets hope he can add goals to his game.


 1. Brad Guzan. UNQUESTIONABLY! Guzan was always a goalkeeper that was a decent shot stopper but lacked that commanding presence and was often glued to his line.  Since taking over from Shay Given, he has been nothing short of remarkable. Like a totally different player.


TOP 5 Disappointing Villa Players During the Season


People may say Darren Bent should be included, but in fairness, when he has played he has done reasonably well.  Paul Lambert does not pick him, because he does not fit the style, which I agree with, so it would be harsh to include him.  Maybe Shay Given? I would prefer to put his lack of action down to the ability of Brad Guzan.  Richard Dunne? Well, let’s be fair, in the last two seasons he has looked woeful at times,  so not sure how much difference he would have made, if fit this season.  Charles N’Zogbia could have contributed more, but I believe he has had a more influential season than the players below and produced at crucial times during periods. Just the West Ham, QPR and Fulham games alone will rank him higher than any of the names below for me personally.  Brett Holman? Possibly could be included, but I still think in games he played – especially in the first half of the season – he contributed a lot despite having a very poor final ball.  Newcastle, Swansea, Liverpool, QPR, Norwich, Arsenal are games in particular where he made a big difference, but it is disappointing that he did not continue that although he was not given much opportunity.


Bannan – just not providing Premiership consistency and now looks to have run out of chances.

5. Ciaran Clark – I have never been a fan of Clark as a centre back.  He has the turning circle of an LGV, is very rash and often miss judges high balls.  That being said, despite numerous daft errors, he does read the game pretty well, so there is encouragement there.  Being installed as captain, I was hoping to see the best of this lad, who does have time on his side, but it never happened.  Experience cannot be relied on as an excuse here because Clark has played international football and has been around the side a long time.


4.  Joe Bennett – The only reason this lad is not higher up this list is because of his inexperience at this level.  His defending at times has been shambolic, and the unforced errors at crucial times have been really costly.  That said, he does show a good engine and drive to get forward and does deliver a good ball into the box.  I hope he can improve his defensive play and cut out the sloppy errors.  Work really needs to be done mentally with this lad, because at times he is like a rabbit caught in head lights when defending.


 3 Karim El Ahmadi – This is a player who in Holland looked superb.  Technically brilliant with the ability to control a game from midfield.  In his first month at Villa, he looked absolutely superb, but since then has been really disappointing.  The ability to pick a pass is evident but he got more and more cautious and sloppy as the season went on.  His discipline is very poor, often giving away daft free kicks in dangerous areas and has really had no effect on improving the Villa side.


 2 Barry Bannan – To be honest, I am not surprised.  Under Gerrard Houllier it appeared Barry Bannan would turn into a superb player.  He has gone so far backwards, that it seems as if he is trying to moon walk right out the Villa Park exit door.  His range of passing has always been one of his strong points, but he often tries these outrageous Hollywood passes which rarely reach their target.  Often in the form of long diagonal balls, that are floated instead of driven, so they are often cut out easily.  His attempt at a tackle is quite laughable at times, where he just falls to floor and flimsily throws a leg in. While there’s a case to play Bannan further forward,  I would show this man the door as soon as possible. Harsh? Maybe! Fair? Definitely.


1. Stephen Ireland – To put it bluntly…please leave! Attitude stinks, work rate is dreadful, and his final product has been absolutely awful.


Aston Villa Top Fives – 1. The Season’s Highs and Lows

Aston Villa Top Fives – 2. The Season’s Top 5 Aston Villa Goals

Aston Villa Top Fives – 4. Top 5 Turning Points of Villa’s Season


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