Three minutes after a goalkeeping nightmare, that did little to inspire confidence in the new Aston Villa number one, Villa were given a great opportunity to make it three consecutive league wins. Despite equalising to make it 1-1, Ipswich went down to 10-men shortly before half-time. Surely it was game on for Villa?
51 minutes against 10 men, should have led to another three points in the bag, but Villa struggled to make in-roads and were arguably better in the first half against 11.
Should have Steve Bruce acted more positively in terms of substitutes before the 64 minute mark? That is open to debate. But what of his initial selection? Surely playing so many players out of position, ultimately is not going to lead to a well-balanced team?
Villa Player Ratings vs Ipswich Away
Orjan Nyland – 4
I said on the last MOMS podcast that Villa’s new two keepers currently look like potential car crashes waiting to happen. It didn’t take Nyland to once again prove the point. His poor judgement ultimately cost Villa two points. In his two games, he’s actually picked the ball out of the net more times than he’s made saves.
Maybe Nyland needs a few saves to make to help with his confidence? At the moment, he seems to have been bought principally for his kicking, rather than any other keeper skillset.
While all keepers need a few games to get into the groove of a new team and build confidence, oversea’s keepers may take longer to adjust to a new league. The question is though, with Villa’s end goal of promotion, is now really a good time to blood such keepers?
Axel Tuanzebe – 6
As per last week, defensively Tuanzebe is sound, but offers little dynamic going forward. I’ll just cut and paste this every week, until the penny drops for Bruce. Tuanzebe looked like he could be a decent partner for Chester at centre-back, but hey, what the hell do I know?
With Ipswich down to 10 men for most of the match, it showed what a waste it is not having a right-back that can support the attack and get at opponents.
Alan Hutton – 6
While Hutton was sound enough, he’s not totally convincing being on his weaker side. Unbalanced, he was put on his ass by Edwards at one point and early on also lost his player, which gifted Ipswich a gilt edge chance. It’s moments like these, which could cost Villa in tight games. Also, he’s not as convincing going forward on the left side – that’s just to be expected.
So, that’s two players being played out of position…Oh, hang on, here comes another one…
Mile Jedinak – 6
Jedinak can probably head the ball away all day, but the problem comes when Villa are being attacked on the counter with pace along the ground. Against teams with better finishers than either Wigan and Ipswich, it’s doubtful Villa would have picked up any points from those games.
Also, as a centre-back, Jedinak tends to go long, rather than add anything to Villa’s build-up play.
Lets face it, Bruce puts him in at centre-back ahead of Elphick and Tuanzebe for set plays, which sums up the Villa boss’s football philosophy to a certain extent.
James Chester – 7
Had a decent enough game, but would be more comfortable in a settled back four that contained players that were actually natural to their positions. It can’t help the Villa captain.
Birkir Bjarnason – 5
So far this season, Bjarnason has struggled to impose himself on the midfield in his deep role, despite having some decent showings last season in the position. I like Bjarnason though, as he has that Tommy Johnson quality of being able to pop up and contribute a goal from time-to-time. Maybe he should play further forward in the midfield, rather than in an out-and-out DM role?
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6
There’s been too many 6/10 performances by Elmohamady and more is needed from him, especially when he plays further forward.
Jack Grealish – 7.5 MOTM
Again Grealish was targeted by the opposition as they picked up several yellow cards for their sins. Grealish drove Villa forward and almost scored a Messi-like effort, as he waltzed through Ipswich’s rearguard, but didn’t pull the trigger early enough. He was generally at the heart of anything good from Villa and on the ball more than any teammate.
John McGinn – 7
Another decent display from McGin, who was the main supply line of the Villa team with nine crosses and a great delivery to provide the assist for Kodjia’s goal. The fact that he’s now Grealish’s room mate on away days shows the club knows the importance to Villa of them getting on the same wavelength to be Villa’s midfield core.
Jonathan Kodjia – 7.5
It was a week that Kodjia finally got into the swing of things. After cutting a frustrated figure in the opening two league games. A sublime assist in mid-week against Yeovil, was followed against Ipswich with his first goal for almost a year. A soaring header from a spot-on delivery from McGinn, gave Villa the lead and Kodjia was also unlucky with a similar header that hit the bar. Promising.
Albert Adomah – 5.5
Personally, I would have started with Green on the left and Adomah on the right, to give Villa better balance, considering there’s already a right-footed left-back. Adomah’s deliveries for most part were poor and there was no surprise when he was subbed.
Off the Bench
Andre Green (64) – 5.5
A bit of an off day for the winger when he came on, although there wasn’t much room for him considering Ipswich were playing deep due to the sending off.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (78) – 6
Gave it a go, but doesn’t really have the persona of an impact sub just yet.
Conor Hourihane (64) – 7
Hourihane has contributed well coming off the bench and hasn’t sulked. He was unlucky not to get Villa a winner for the second successive game. There’s an argument that Villa don’t need a DM for home games against standard opposition, so why not play Hourihane alongside McGinn and Grealish? Personally, I would have brought him on at half-time against Ipswich, when the home team were down to 10-men.