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Aston Villa VS Watford Player Ratings

In a game that lacked quality from both sides over the 90 it was Watford who ran out 1-0 winners after another flat performance from Villa. I’d love to come on here and say Villa deserved more and were unlucky but watching the game back and looking at XG and the chances both teams had we were lucky we didn‘t concede 2 or 3. I hoped last week was a blip and we would bounce back and strut our stuff against a Watford team without a win in 11 and without a goal in 4, but sadly we seemed to pick up where we left off against Newcastle. We looked toothless in the final third, clueless in midfield and on the counter attack we were getting carved open like a knife through butter. The decision to throw on Watkins for Luiz seemed to hinder us more then help us and despite ending the game with Bailey, Ings, Watkins, Coutinho and Ramsey all on the pitch Ben Foster never had to lift a finger. He could have got his go pro out from the goal and started vlogging he was that comfortable. Taking that all into account i‘m sure you can imagine how the player ratings will shape up.

Emi Martinez - 7/10

The only player on the pitch who could come off with his head held high. Denied Dennis with a smart stop in the first half and made a good save late on to stop King making it 2-0. Without him yesterdays scoreline could have been alot heavier. Let down again by the 10 players in front of him.

Lucas Digne- 5/10

In the system Gerrard wants to play Digne has to do more. He was the brighter of the two full backs which isn’t saying much but when he drove into the attacking third his final ball and general quality was poor. Much more of a symptom of our poor performance then one of the causes but showed nothing better then what we had previously in Targett today. And for the goal he didn’t cover himself in glory. Stood off Sarr and even when Coutinho came to back him up he still stood off him allowing him to get the ball in. But by no means was he the main cause of the goal, we‘ll get to that later. Just a very mediocre display.

Tyrone Mings- 6/10

Probably the best of the back 4 today and didn’t really put a foot wrong. Was aggressive, covered Digne well when he was caught forward and threw his body on the line when needed. Distribution was an issue today. Too often him and Chambers got involved in a game of keep ball doing their best imitation of the chuckle brothers. “To me… To you… To me… To you”. One of them needed to drive forward into midfield every now and then to disrupt the Watford set up and give them something different to think about but never did. Wasn’t at fault for the goal and could only watch as Young was bullied at the back post. If I’m being super critical maybe could have passed King on to Chambers for the goal and dropped back to help Young but he can’t be held responsible for Young’s poor judgement.

Callum Chambers- 5/10

Its way too early for me to be judging him considering he has played so little football the last 18 months and is probably working his way back to match sharpness still, but I’m not convinced. Got sent for a hot dog by Dennis early on by going to ground and was bailed out by Martinez. Solid enough defensively for most of the game and was strong in the air when Watford went long. For me Konsa comes straight back in for Brighton, haven’t seen enough to suggest Chambers could be an upgrade. Again similar to Mings needs to be braver on the ball bring the ball out more regularly as opposed to going sideways.

Matty Cash - 5/10

Was only on the pitch for 65 Mins and looking at the impact Young had I have a feeling Gerrard might be wishing he had kept him on. Wasn’t particularly impressive but wasn‘t poor either, slap bang in the middle he was just average. He got into some really good advanced positions at times and the ball wasn’t shifted out to him. When he did get the ball and was up against the Watford full back he has to do better. He seems reluctant to use his pace and power to drive at fullbacks and opts to take a touch, slow the game down and either cut inside and run into trouble or go backwards and kill the attack. If Gerrard wants his fullbacks to be his key attacking weapon to stretch teams Cash simply has to improve or I can’t see Gerrard staying patient with him.

Douglas Luiz - 4/10

Luiz proved again today if it ever need proving he is not and never will be the DM that Gerrard needs in this system. I pinched the stat below from @pgr_analytics on twitter so shoutout, but it sums up the issue with Luiz. On the left is the average position of Nakamba in Gerrard’s first game and on the right was the average position of Luiz on Saturday. He leaves us exposed on the break and that was where Watford had all their joy. He was beaten far too easily by Sarr early on that led to the Dennis chance and just does not protect the two CB’s anywhere near enough. In this system the DM is arguably the most important role. We saw with Nakamba how much better the whole midfield looked with him sitting in, winning the ball and recycling it. Nothing fancy just the basics and it was allowing the whole team to click. In the role Gerrard is asking Luiz to play, we will always look vulnerable. On the ball he was fine and got forward well at times but even when he does move into more advanced areas It feels like there are shackles on him and he knows he doesn’t have the freedom to do what he wants to do. The Luiz we saw vs Man City in more advanced areas is his best version. The one we saw on Saturday is his worst.

John McGinn - 4/10

Oh McGinn. The meatball man is being stifled in this setup for me and offered little on Saturday. His energy, work rate and tenacity in the challenge can never be questioned but in this hybrid midfielder/full back role he is being asked to play, he is struggling. It’s a waste to ask him to cover Cash when he gets forward when we know what he can do when we give him the licence to drive forward. The McGinn we saw Wolves at Villa Park even if it was under Smith is his best version, he was unplayable at times bursting forward. Against Watford when he got the ball in good areas he never found a killer ball and I can’t think of one time he burst into the box the whole game. His passing range wasn’t there either today and coupled with Ramsey his contribution in the final third was nowhere near enough, he was a non existent goal threat. He’s suffering at the moment and whether it’s the position he is being asked to play or a lack of confidence I cant help but think that Sanson must be watching on the bench and questioning his future at the club.

Jacob Ramsey - 5/10

Its fair to say that Ramsey has been a shadow of the man we saw vs Leeds in the last two games. He broke forward well at times on Saturday, had an effort blaze just over and was by far the best of the midfield 3 but the link up with Digne and Coutinho wasn’t at the level we know it can and should be. When we were chasing the game he looked the most urgent on the ball and one of the only few looking to force the issue but just couldn’t find that connection in the final third and similar to McGinn didn’t make enough bursts into the box to try and grab that goal that we needed. The best of a bad bunch in midfield but nothing to write home about.

Emi Buendia - 6/10

Probably the brightest outfield player for Villa. Created a match high 5 chances in the game and looked like the one man who could create that moment of quality for us. In the opening 20 mins he dropped into the pockets brilliantly, receiving the ball well of the back 4, turning to spread the ball out to an overlapping full back or look to slip in Ings which he did a couple of times. One ball in particular in the 1st half if it had come off would have been a spectacular assist if Ings had been a yard quicker. As he has done for most of this season looked our most technical and intelligent player on the pitch and was surprised he was taken off for Bailey. Not much more he could have done individually and was let down by some of those around him for me. A solid display.

Danny Ings - 5/10

Was really sharp and looked like the Ings of old in the opening 15-20 mins linking up well with Buendia, dropping into nice pockets of space and holding the ball up when needed and popping it off. Had that offside chance one on one which hit the post and had a couple of half chances but as the game went on he started to fade away. Become more and more isolated and when Watkins came on there were times he was pushed out wide as part of a fluid front 3 and in the second half especially was non existent. Looks low on confidence in a team low on confidence and that is never good. Probably did enough to earn the start against Brighton, but we really need him or Watkins to get a goal and go on a run now. One of them has to step up.

Philippe Coutinho - 6/10

Probably came the closest of any Villa player to breaking the deadlock. Had an effort from range hit the top of the net on the 76th min and seemed to be the only one willing to have a dig from range when called upon. Again in the opening 20 minutes he looked like he was going to go on and run the show dropping into space and showing some nice turns and touches but faded and cut a frustrated figure in the later parts of the game as Villa chased a goal. From lifting the UCL with Bayern to losing 1-0 to Watford. Performances like this won’t help our chances of keeping him in the summer.

Ollie Watkins - 4/10

Came on in the 58th Minute for Luiz and seemed to unsettle the side more then anything. The lack of a DM didn’t help our shape which isn’t his fault. Watkins himself huffed and puffed but he never really got into the game operating at times on the left and at times down the middle in a front two with Ings that yet again showed no signs of working. Looks like a lad low on confidence, worked hard as he always does but provided very little goal threat.

Ashley Young - 2/10

I don’t want to go in too hard on Young himself because the thinking from Gerrard to bring on a 36 year old to win us the game is odd and that’s putting it kindly. But I genuinely can’t think of something positive he did. Bar getting in the referees ear over the positioning of the Watford wall for a Digne free kick, I cant see what he brought that Cash didn’t. Never a fan of changing a back 4 mid game unless you absolutely have too and the defending from Young for the goal is why. I’m not sure what he is expecting from Sarr on the left but when the ball comes in he’s caught on his heels and Dennis powers past him and heads home. It’s easy to say in hindsight but I doubt Cash would have been caught out like that. Offered very little and if anything showed he isn’t much competition for Cash at RB.

Leon Bailey- 4/10

He came on and looked to drive at the defence but his quality wasn't the best. Got into some good areas but the Watford full back looked fairly comfortable in handling him. Would have given a standard 5 but the chance at the death to level it if he had just brought the ball under control is still in my head and so it’s a 4 for me. Maybe a bit harsh but it wasn’t even a difficult ball to control. Looks a way off being fully match sharp but good to have him back as an option.

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