Darren’s player by player assessment

Darren posted this in the previous thread, but seeing as I like reading player’s ratings, I thought it deserved a thread of it’s own.
Feel free to do this every week if you want, Darren and let us know if you fancy becoming an author, specialising in this;

My Player Ratings Aston Villa 3 – 2 Man City.

Brad Guzan 7.0. Did nothing wrong in goal as such and can’t be blamed for either goal as both were lapses in defence and from unmarked players. Had a good game. Still some poor inaccurate long balls.

Nathan Baker 6.5 Had a solid game and overall looks the part and will become crucial in Okore’s absence.

Ron Vlaar 8.0 Almost looked out of his depth in the first half as Man City just kept coming and just held in. But stood tall in the second and repelled attacks like Mortein on Mosquitoes. Cleared, intercepted and tackled admirably and lead the defence well.

Ciaran Clark 6.0. Made some crucial blocks and interceptions. But a poor defensive header gave City their first goal. Never looked overly confident in possession.

Antonio Luna 6.5 Did Ok defensively for most of the game and played a crucial role in stopping Navas in the dying minutes of the game. Always looks good when in possession going forward.

Leandro Bacuna 8.0 Looks good when on the ball in the middle of the park and can clearly create as he opened up city with a through ball to El Ahmadi for our first goal. Did his job in defence. His Bend it like Bacuna goal the highlight of any highlight real. Finally a dead ball specialist? Where do we play Bacuna? In the middle or at right back? Surely he has consolidated his spot in the starting 11 for now.

Karim El Ahmadi 8.0 Yes I give him as equal as importance as Vlaar and Bacuna for this win. I like many have wanted him out from previous games but by god he played well today. Run his heart out all game but came into his own after scoring the first Villa goal with a nice finish. He got back infront of defence over and over, chased down, talked well and looked a lot cleaner on the ball than we have seen previously. I think this is KEA best game for Villa as I see it.

Yacouba Sylla 6.5 Poor passing at times. Missed players. Seemed a little off the pace at times but run and pressured all game. Tireless effort and overall deserves his spot as I see him only getting better as he gels with the team.

Fabian Delp. 7.5 Another impressive performance from our midfield maestro. Great on the ball, excellent control and a excellent array of passing, once again the most complete Villa midfielder as he has been all season.

Andreas Weimann 6.0 Struggled early and took a long time to get into the game. Nice finish to give Villa the win. But for me did little else today. Should get great confidence from his goal!

Libor Kozak 6.5 Looks quite useful upfront and always making runs and working the defenders. Looks good in the air and will be solid in Benteke’s absence.

Overall Review: I see this win as a team performance, one against the odds, one that was ground out to the finish, finally a fight in Villa! Poor defending of corners set us and why no one is on the posts when all players are back is beyond me (would have cleared their second if their was someone on the back post). Many impressive points as this is clearly a win to savour and to behold. Were we lucky or was our admirable defending and quality finishing the sign of a good team of the future? I prefer to think the latter but obviously there was some luck involved.

Was KEA offside? Yes. But I think that evens up our Chelsea game, thanks Ref.

I am a happy man as to be honest, who could expect more against City? And tot be honest who isn’t outplayed by City? Sometimes this is just what you have to do to win a game.

Game Highlight. Bacunas curler of course!

Talking Point: Is no Benteke for a couple weeks a blessing in disguise? Will we learn more avenues and better ways to play in his absence and only be even stronger when he returns?


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  1. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson September 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm . Reply

    Darren, full marks man, nice to see a individual assessment of players performance, not able to go down today as we have corporate seats and was given to customers, I’m still in the clouds and waiting for the match to come on the TV, have to say nice to see players performance has started to proove me wrong today, well done the team.

  2. Naughtius Maximus
    Naughtius Maximus September 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm . Reply

    cant really argue with any of thise points and scores Darren.
    think baccunas gonna have to stay at RB for the mo coz lowton has been really poor so far this season, have no idea why. but it means baccuna cant be allowed to push up into midfield but on the last performances at RB, (Norwich last week, I believe he played mid field against spurs as lowton was in RB) baccuna is our man.
    nice to see wiemann score, not so sure about kozack but one goal and one assist in 3 games aint back I suppose and he has big shoes to fill, or keep warm at least.

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath September 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm . Reply

      Problem with kozac Is he has no pace

  3. markdrapernumber8
    markdrapernumber8 September 29, 2013 at 12:10 am . Reply

    Spot on player assessment Darren

    Libor does lack pace but again as we’ve seen with all Lamberts signings he has good technique and a very very good read of the game, playing in Italy no doubt taught him that. I’m happy with him. A more than decent replacement for Benteke. We didn’t play as much long ball today which was nice to see especially after recent showings. We still look a little all over the place at times but funnily we look more solid at the back and I think it’s the midfield this season so far creating the problems for the defence although individually they’re all great. Some time to gel I think with Sylla Delph and KEA who I agree look brilliant together.

    Excellent to see us pulling the result out the bag today becuase I’m certainly not the only Villa fan who thought we were goign to get a proper hiding today.

    All in all after a little dip in my faith in Lambert and what he was doing and where we were going we do look like a unit which is the most important thing, All the players look to be working for each other which has been non-existent for years so that’s refreshing to see. And well played to the fans who went today, the noise VP was bloody fantastic from watching the game on the TV, Shame I can’t get over there much anymore. Keep it going because the lads play off that really well, today we absolutely had the 12th man.

    On a side note, great to see Langford putting in a few comments in the other post P&P UTV

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath September 29, 2013 at 12:43 am . Reply

      Great result mark I think when we play a sky 4 team at home it suits us better as they are happy not to sit back and come at us so we can counter. However when we play a lesser tea, ie Newcastle these teams sit back a bit more and double mark Benteke. Because we have zilch creativity in midfield we can’t unpick these tight defences which is why we are poor at home. We rode our luck today and on another day we would have lost 4-5.0

      1. markdrapernumber8
        markdrapernumber8 September 29, 2013 at 7:46 pm . Reply

        I agree mate and thats what concerns me the most. Last season we seemed to be able to penetrate teams a little more with our own style, that seems to have dissapeared a bit this season and we may soon become very predictable to play against.

  4. Darren
    Darren September 29, 2013 at 5:00 am . Reply

    Nice, I will try do an assessment when I get the chance however I do not always have the time due to working two jobs. I think I did one against Arsenal too.. Somewhere in one of the threads back then..

    I agree Bacuna at RB for now, but would like to see him pushed into the middle when we can, bring Lowton back maybe for some home games against opposition around us. Would give us more width and Bacuna would just need to get back to give Lowton cover. He has the potential to be able to create goals, in play and from dead balls. Would also give us the much needed 4-4-2 setup that may help us win a few more home games.

    Kozak is slow but you don’t always have to be fast to score goals, make the right movements and runs and you will get on the end of a good ball, which I think he does.

    Yes we rode our luck today, same can be said for Chelsea against us (refereeing luck) and Liverpool in the second half against us. So you win some, you lose some but we have matched it with the top clubs thus far with our only unfortunately poor game was against lowly Newcastle.

  5. Richie
    Richie September 29, 2013 at 10:45 am . Reply

    Good assessment. Impressed with Bacuna, sure his positioning is a bit off at times but he offers us a genuine threat from set players and corners, something we have clearly lacked for a while. With Lowton’s poor form, Bacuna has to stay at right back now.
    Equally, I think KEA is beginning to come good, made a lot of key tackles and interceptions and shows why players need time to settle. Vlaar also had one of his best games in a Villa shirt.
    Kozak, as has been said you can tell he has played in Italy. Very good at drawing fouls late in games, that could be key for us in seeing out games. Sure he isn’t quick but its good to have different options up front.
    Overall, yes we were lucky but against a team costing so much you need luck to win. Interesting to see what happens at Hull, we need to set up more offensive so will Lambert change the formation again?

  6. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson September 29, 2013 at 10:50 am . Reply

    Cannot speak for all but thought your input on player’s was good and fair, I was wondering how many today have sore heads I know I have, watched the game 5 times so far and yes Vlaar was on form Baker was not paying attention on that second goal and Vlaar told him so, all in all as some have said its goals that count plus determination, well done the lads, just a thought if we had Chelsea’s game and Newcastle’s we would be top of the league now.

  7. Darren
    Darren September 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm . Reply

    An interesting read on stats for the city game, the stats show Villa’s three stars as Vlaar, Bacuna and El Ahmadi.


  8. Bencey83
    Bencey83 September 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm . Reply

    Great to have video highlights on here. Thanks for that! Any chance of getting these after every game?

  9. Bencey83
    Bencey83 September 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm . Reply

    We really need to sort out our defending on corners, don’t we?! If we could cut out goals conceded from corners, we’d probably be pushing for Champions League!

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath September 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm . Reply

      This should have been sorted by now lamberks had over a year to sort it Ffs. How much more time

  10. B6
    B6 September 29, 2013 at 7:55 pm . Reply

    Never understood why people complain about the performance when we’ve won. I personally couldn’t give a shit if we only have 10% possession and only complete 5 passes as long as we score more goals than the opposition. If we’re getting battered every week and losing every game then fair enough, complain about the performance. You don’t get 3 points for a good performance you get 3 points by scoring more than the opposition. 🙂

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath September 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm . Reply

      Iv always said result first performance second. If we play shit every game and win 3.2 then we win the league

  11. Foxy
    Foxy September 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm . Reply

    I was thinking about all of this yesterday, a couple of weeks or so ago I didn’t want to see KEA in a Villa shirt again but when he scored the first thing he did was run up to Lambert. He’s had faith in his player, has been seeing something we perhaps haven’t and hopefully it will give KEA a confidence boost and get him playing well.

    Another thing is that Lambert has changed formation again and it worked. Yes, there was a lot of last ditch defending and bodies being thrown in front of balls, and we were very very lucky but it shows a different side to Lambert’s tactics, especially when after the Newcastle match a lot of us (me included) were hoping Lambert could try something other than long ball to Benteke, strikers try to score, everyone else tries to get in the way when we lose the ball, and repeat.

    For me the most important thing is still Wiemann getting on the score sheet. We need him and Gabby banging in the goals as well as supplying Kozak and/or Benteke. Bacuna appears to have earned himself a fair crack at the RB position, with Lowton now needing to make his case (I thought Bennett did well against Spurs – no, he wasn’t great but it will keep Luna on his toes). The weak link appears to be central midfield. I like Westwood but with Delph playing well (but isn’t that two matches without a yellow, what’s going on?!) and KEA starting to look good will Sylla be given enough match time or will Westwood be straight back in when he’s well again? I like Westwood but like Lowton has had a couple of low key matches before injury. I like Sylla too, is one of them going to step up and claim that place?

    Gardner please get well soon, we really want to see what you can do. The squad is sorting itself out again (about three months earlier than last season) and frankly it’s painful seeing his name next to ‘long term injury’ on pre-match team news.

    Oh yeah, one last thing, on MOTD I think someone mentioned that we could perhaps have done with a man on the post for the second goal.

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath September 30, 2013 at 12:21 am . Reply

      A man on the post would of helped for second goal. Remember kae goal was definitely offside but who cares, and weimann goal was just an innocuous long ball from Guzan that city defence fucked up to let weimann thru on goal and free kick that led to our goal wasnt a foul if you look closely enough but bacuna dispatched with aplomb. What in saying is is that goals were nothing to do with lamberks tactical genius it was mostly down to luck. Let’s face ht we mugged them.

      1. Darren
        Darren September 30, 2013 at 8:15 am . Reply

        Think I mentioned it but I completely agree about the corners defending. Not only was it a result of the second goal but they did it all the time – and that was no one covering the near or back past. Insane considering we consistently had every player back bar one for corners. Pretty sure its something my school team did quite well!

        In my opinion, we need a proper AM the most. as if we got a AM with star quality, we could afford to play a 4 man midfield with Sylla and KEA playing DM roles and Delph as the other. I don’t think our defence is terrible by premier league standards and where we are targeting finishing, it lacks a lot of cover. When they are terrible is set pieces however. Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker (Okore when not injured) Luna is a decent defence, for now. Our attack is solid, as we all know.

        1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
          OohAhPaulMcGrath September 30, 2013 at 8:22 am . Reply

          Agree in open play defence isn’t too bad but atrocious at set pieces

      2. Foxy
        Foxy September 30, 2013 at 8:23 am . Reply

        I agree, we were very lucky, and I grudgingly accept that this time the long ball worked (top marks for Guzan for spotting Kozak – I think it was). No one gave up though, and it wasn’t a phone number win for ManC.

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