Ultimate Aston Villa Player Ratings as Survival Hopes Fizzle After Everton Draw

By Jonathan Parkin

Everton 1 Aston Villa 1

To stave off relegation, Villa were virtually needing to play knockout football, where only winning would keep their season alive. A win against Crystal Palace kept the life support going, but a win against Everton would put them right in the relegation battle mix, considering some of the other team’s upcoming fixtures.

Dean Smith made one forced change to the starting XI, with Matt Targett coming in for the injured Neil Taylor. 17-year-old full-back Kaine Kesler-Hayden was an intriguing selection on the bench, with a shortage of fit defenders leading Smith to look at the youth team. Everton’s Carlo Ancelotti made five changes to his side, displaying his displeasure with their loss against Wolves, and meaning a big response was expected.

Villa played well for the most part in the first half, however, neither side could get a scoring opportunity of any real quality. Douglas Luiz ran the show for Villa, robbing the ball from the Everton attack and midfield, before bursting forward and attempting to find members of the strike force.

The game continued to be one of few goalscoring opportunities in the second half. The Villans had a couple of openings via Jack Grealish, but the attacking midfielder failed to find the target. Dean Smith switched up the front three, Davis and El Ghazi replaced Samatta and Trezeguet, and Villa’s threat level increased. Conor Hourihane whipped a free kick into the area, and Ezri Konsa slid through to place the ball into the back off the Everton net. Anwar El Ghazi should have made it two soon after, scuffing the ball over the bar from a few yards out, a miss that Villa would come to rue.

Much like for the rest of the season, Villa slipped further and further back into their own half. Fans must have been screaming at the television screens to push out and pressure Everton, as they maintained possession. One ball of many into the box met the head of Theo Walcott, and cruelly looped over the head of Pepe Reina, and across the line before Konsa could acrobatically pump the ball clear. Goal line technology was not the Villans friend for a second time.

Everton looked as if they could score again after their 87th minute equaliser, but the Villa held onto the point. At this stage, a point really isn’t enough, the season will be over, if Villa fail to beat Arsenal on Tuesday.

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Player Ratings

Pepe Reina – 6

There wasn’t much for Pepe Reina to do other than pick the ball out of his net late on. The Spaniard claimed several crosses calmly, and was accurate in terms of his passing and long clearances.

Ahmed Elmohamady – 6.5

Ahmed Elmohamady can cross the ball extremely well, and he showcased this skill well once again. The Egyptian played more key passes than any other Villa player, and there is always a good chance for Villa to create an opportunity when Elmo has the ball out wide on the right. On top of this, the 32-year-old was solid in defence, with two tackles and two interceptions to his name.

Ezri Konsa – 7

Centre-back Ezri Konsa importantly stuck the ball in the net, giving Villa a glimmer of hope. He also tidily passed the ball, and dealt with the Everton front two commendably. One heart in mouth moment was caused by the 22-year-old however, as he slipped and allowed the ball to be fed across to Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The Everton striker spared Konsa’s blushes though, as he placed the ball wide of the mark. A decent performance overall by Konsa though.

Tyrone Mings – 6.5

Another much improved performance from Tyrone Mings. Villa’s vocal centre-half manged to snuff out the Everton attack multiple times as it broke, with the help of Konsa and Douglas Luiz. There were no casual moments with the ball from the England international, and Villa on the whole looked more comfortable in defence.

Matt Targett – 5.5

In failing to contest the header with Theo Walcott, Matt Targett cost Villa a goal. In times when defensive solidity and fight are needed to such an extent, half-baked attempts at challenges can’t be allowed to happen. It is a shame, because otherwise the energetic left-back worked well as part of the defensive unit, and gave Villa another avenue to attack. Mistakes and lacklustre defensive efforts cost teams down at the bottom.

Douglas Luiz – 7.5 MOTM

It is no surprise for Villa fans to see Douglas Luiz have another great performance. The defensive midfielder dealt with Richarlison expertly in the first half, whipping the ball off the forward’s toes and outmuscling him where necessary. The Brazilian also pulled the strings for Villa when they progressed up the pitch, with more passes than any other player. The quality further up the pitch may have been lacking, but Douglas provided plenty from further back.

Conor Hourihane – 6.5

Despite whipping a teasing ball into the box for the opening goal, Conor Hourihane played his part in the Toffee’s equaliser. The Irishman’s less than combative nature showed, as he did very little to prevent the cross that resulted in Walcott’s header. It is worth pointing out though, that Hourihane did on the whole perform well. He played a selection of nice passes that got the Villa moving forward, as well as driving towards the Everton goal himself.

John McGinn – 7

It’s taken way too long for the Villa’s liking, but John McGinn is much more like his old self. The midfield dynamo executed several of his trademark turns with his back to the opposition player, and fizzed a brilliant pass across the park to Jack Grealish early in the second half. A smattering of tackles and interceptions rounded off a fine performance from McGinn.

Trezeguet – 5.5

After scoring a brace last time round against Crystal Palace, it was clear to see Trezeguet had grown in confidence. The winger drove at the opposition with energy and attempted to play in a direct style. Despite this, his execution was very poor, and he only succeeded in giving away possession in decent attacking positions.

Ally Samatta – 4

When Ally Samatta was signed, the Villa faithful were promised an experienced striker, ready to go in the Premier League, who was good in the air. The Tanzanian’s one chance to score in this game was from a cross, and he headed it far over the bar. He has suffered at times since joining due to a woeful lack of service, but even when the 27-year-old gets the chances, he doesn’t look like putting them away. His lack of ability with the ball on the floor also hinders Villa’s progress, as the striker either passes backwards or loses the ball completely (he was dispossessed three times in this match alone). 

Jack Grealish © – 7

The direct play that was missing from Jack Grealish is back, and there was real threat going forward from the Villa skipper. But still, the final finish or pass was missing for Villa’s key man. The one occasion his delivery was on the money, Anwar El Ghazi couldn’t tap the ball in.

Off the Bench

Keinan Davis (63) – 7

Keinan Davis came on and threw his weight around against Everton’s inexperienced centre-half, Jarrad Branthwaite. The big striker won two freekicks, including the one that allowed Villa to open the scoring. Though he isn’t really a goal threat, Davis works hard for the team and opens up space for others, which is a great deal more than Samatta does.

Anwar El Ghazi (63) – 5.5

Dutch winger Anwar El Ghazi looked much livelier than Trezeguet in his spell on the pitch. His performance was marred by the key moment of the game though, as he somehow spurned a golden opportunity to increase the Villa advantage to two.

Manager Rating

Dean Smith – 6

There is a minute chance for Villa to stay up. A loss would have been disastrous, but there is too much that needs to happen out of Villa’s hands for safety to be a realistic prospect. In terms of game plan and performance, there isn’t a great deal to be criticised, other than a lack of real threat from open play. This is more like the fight that the Villa faithful want to see, but it has come far too late. A good run now could still help provide momentum into next season, especially if it starts soon after this season finishes. Though most of the hope is gone, there is still something to cling onto.

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  1. Must beat The gunners. Drop Samatta and Davis- throw on Vassilev- his speed will kill Luiz. Arsenal’s weakness is their defense. I believe if we attack them they will crumble….plus the more we attack, we stifle their excellent strikers by making them track back. Still have a feeling Bournmouth and Watford won’t pick up another win, so it really could be still in Villa’s hands… UTV.

  2. Agreed, I guess we all know what the team will be, as Douglas Luiz has started to simmer why have the rest gone off the boil, on Tuesday we need a fully firing McGinn a return to form Grealish, who I believe is more effective from wide left, a boiling Douglas Luiz a technical Hourihane and an on song El Ghazi who baffles me because at times he can be unplayable, the defence needs to up its game and overall we must pressure higher up and more quickly without diving in, Davies must not drop deep he should be operating around the edge and in the box he is an handful and bullying the opposition in their penalty area is what he needs to be doing. To summarize, in brief the whole team need to turn up and fight for a win I am going to be optimistic here and say this is our last chance and I think they will all be there. What!! was that? did I hear the fat lady clearing her throat?? As always UTV.

  3. With 3 minutes to go we should have had 10 outfield defenders but for me that’s down to the manager with no fans everyone can hear instructions so no excuses, as for scoring we have no strikers I watched an interview with Target and he agreed that this was our big problem and has been all season. But water under the bridge and now one final but very slim chance, I just hope that we don’t go down on goal difference but that’s a real possibility, and what does that say about Terry, Because of Bournemouth’s run in I think we may well need two wins even then it’s not a given, all we can do is hope. Keep Mc Ginn at 10 and start Hourihane and Davis, sadly I can’t see Smith playing a youngster

  4. Wass amatta wiv Samatta, he can’t score goals and Davies has the same problem, it’s no longer any good praising his hold up play, it’s goals we need and more than one because we are unable to defend a one goal lead. I seriously believe that we must throw the dice and throw one of the youngsters in let’s face it playing for a drawing is no longer an option nothing less than a win against the Gunners will do and even then our goal difference is against us. Why!! oh!! why!! was the attacker and ball and all not bundled into touch too stop the cross why did we not recover properly and get goal side of our opponents with 3 mins left the players should all have been busting a gut to get back and defend. What has JT been doing with the defence all season, thought our keeper was caught in non man’s land again. I don’t like the blame game, but why has Hourihane been warming the bench, he proved his worth yet again and should have been starting every game as he is without doubt our biggest goal threat. Enough rambling, we have one more bite of the cherry against Arsenal and hope other results go our way or as Peter Laurie would say “we’re doomed” UTV.

  5. there’s a reason why a lot of Villa strikers struggle & that’s the human brakes some opposition teams delight in using & get away with using against Villa . However it seems that our striker have had some coaching in how to break away from such human breaks . However Samatta still seemed lost last night , & @ times almost seemed to be sulking coz he was not being given the ball even though he was doing little with it . Davis whose tally for the U23’s is far higher was working the ball last night even if he could not get a shot on goal

  6. I hope not but I think that we will be relegated, and on that basis we have no idea which players we will loose and who will be left, but if Elmo stays maybe he would make a decent captain, but its too late and too early to make that decision, I do think that Mc Ginn at no 10 made a difference, I cant understand all of the hype about Davis yes he puts himself about and can hold the ball up but let’s be honest he’s a striker and has scored one goal in more than 20 games, all season we have been in desperate need for a quality striker, any striker worth his salt would have buried the chance that ElGhazi spurned and we would have been in with a great chance, I know that we signed Wesley but as far as I’m concerned a complete waste of money.

  7. Without leadership on the pitch most if not all teams are lost But who have we got who can command the team ? Certainly not Jack even though he’s a Villa fan & to a degree players do follow him , but he get’a kicked around the pitch too much . Mings has played captain but has been making mistakes of late , . Luiz has been our best player of late but has he got enough personality to command the whole team ??? Reina started barking out orders & the team complied but a goalie as captain is limited ! So who does that leave ? Possiblt Elmo who has captained Egypt ?

  8. we did buy a very expensive striker who is injured, the problem is defence. As we cannot score goals, good clubs grind out results. We have lost more games from winning positions than any other club in the division and lost more goals in the last 15 minutes than any other club. Everton knew last night throw the ball into the penalty box and they would score Could have scored two or more.

    While we have the worst defence in the division that is the problem. I do not know whether Smith can survive but our defensive coach has to go.

    And defence is not done in the six yard box. The question has to be answered – why can we not play out games? Its not fitness, villa look like frightened rabbits when defending a one goal lead. Why>

    Trevor Fisher

  9. Totaly agree Trevor, we can all see the problems but the bigger picture for some unknown reason is that the Powers that be don’t see it, all season myself and many others have been crying out for a quality striker, but the club just waste millions on sub standard players with no experience, I’m afraid it just the same old Villa no leadership on or off the field, and now we will pay the ultimate price. No idea where we go from here except Into the Championship, which I have said before for a club of our size and fan base is absolutely unacceptable. Wholesale changes top to bottom are needed. But I wonder again if our owners can see it.

  10. the point scores for players are irrelevant, the problem is villa defend narrow leads and do not press the opposition. I think that is 19 points lost from winning positions and 20 goals conceded in the last 15 minutes. The worst stats in the division. Why Villa cannot press the oppositoin and think they can back into their own penalty box is the key issue

    ITs happened for years- needs a sports psychologists to understand. We can all see that conceding midfield is madness but they do it all the time

    trevor fisher

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