Aston Villa 2-2 Brentford Player Ratings: majestic McGinn

 

Jonathan Kodjia – birminghammail.co.uk

Jonathan Kodjia’s 95th minute equalizer secured Aston Villa a point, which was the least they deserved, in an enthralling 2-2 draw with Brentford at Villa Park on Wednesday night. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Aston Villa

Orjan Nyland – the Norwegian stopper had something to prove after looking suspect against Wigan and Ipswich; although he made some good saves, including one excellent stop to deny Yennaris from range, he made a howler for the goal by spilling Watkins’ effort into Maupay’s path. 4

Axel Tuanzebe – the Manchester United loanee’s athleticism allowed him to be first to loose balls and make powerful runs down the right flank. Perhaps the main reason Bruce fielded the centre-back by trade at right-back though might have been his ability to defend his post, so it is ironic that he was beaten in the air by Watkins in the lead-up to the opener. Skinned by the same player for Brentford’s second goal, too, as his influenced waned slightly after the break. 5
James Chester – despite scoring in the win over Wigan,  Chester has recently not quite scaled the heights he did in the last couple of seasons. Showed a moment of indecision in the lead-up to the opener which, perhaps when he had a more aggressive centre-back alongside him, wouldn’t have been problematic. The challenge for Chester now is, in the absence of a Nathan Baker or John Terry-style partner, to become more authoritative. 6
Mile Jedinak – the Aussie looked very suspect in the previous home game against Wigan and it was surprising that Steve Bruce persisted with him as a centre-back. Jedinak isn’t ideal for that position – sometimes he makes the kind of mistakes that are more forgivable for a midfielder than a defender – and we saw him lose concentration when marking Maupay for Brentford’s second. Not a convincing performance, but not as bad as it could have been. 5
Alan Hutton – the man supporters humorously proclaim ‘The Scottish Cafu’ is now at left-back; it’s fair to say his attempted Roberto Carlos impersonation has brought mixed results. Hutton’s endeavour can never be questioned – he was unlucky not to retrieve the ball on the line for Brentford’s equalizer – but he was also slow to close down in the lead-up to the opener. Always unlikely to offer pace in an attacking sense but that wasn’t too much of an issue here, at least while Adomah was present to offer the width. 5

Ahmed Elmohamady – the Egyptian, who has worked with Steve Bruce at previous clubs, put in a good showing, especially in the first half. He worked in tandem with Tuanzebe, covering defensively when needed but also got into good areas and played some accurate deliveries. 7
Glenn Whelan – the former Stoke midfielder is positionally disciplined and keeps things simple. However, on the rare occasions that Brentford did get into the final third, it could be questioned whether Whelan’s defensive work was good enough to compensate for his limitations in possession. 5
John McGinn – the Scot’s accurate deliveries were key to the win over Wigan in the previous home game and they were on-point once again here. While he has the end product of Conor Hourihane, who he forced onto the bench, he presses with a bit more vigour and that played a big part in forcing Brentford back for the first hour. On this evidence, it looks as though Villa have found good value for their money. 9
Albert Adomah – the winger caused problems for Dalsgaard with his direct runs down the flank, helping to stretch the play and create chances. It was surprising that he was taken off with a quarter of the match to play and Villa suffered without the width he provided. 8

Jack Grealish – in previous games, Villa have relied heavily on Grealish as their only source of control and creativity. Here, his individual performance was at the same level – jinking runs, effortless passes and delightful link-up play – yet his teammates made more of those qualities due to the alternative creativity and improved movement around him. 8
Jonathan Kodjia – the individualistic forward might at times frustrate Villa fans due to his lack of patience when it comes to bringing his teammates into play. Equally though, it is hard to imagine a more selfless front-man like Keinan Davis forcing Mepham back in quite the same way that Kodjia did, let alone turn Konsa to fire home the equalizer and then secure a brace. 9

Andre Green (on 70) – the speedy academy graduate, who has had injury issues recently, helped carry the ball up the pitch to relieve pressure on the back-line but once he got into the final third, his lack of faith in his left foot was perhaps problematic. 5
Conor Hourihane (on 83) – the midfielder’s impressive productivity in the final third can sometimes paper over the difficulties he has in influencing play in the middle third for various reason; the Irishman didn’t do badly from the bench here but McGinn’s arrival means he may need to up his game slightly. 6
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (on 85) – added some raw energy but not an awful lot more, understandable for a 19-year-old. While the academy graduate is still in a developmental phase of his career – and the likes of Scott Hogan and Keinan Davis are injured – it’s vital for Villa that Kodjia stays fit and firing, because they don’t want to have to bank on Hepburn-Murphy to produce consistently at this stage. 5

Brentford

Daniel Bentley – the former Southend keeper has been among the best stoppers in the Championship over the last three seasons; he made some good saves here but his distribution may need some perfecting. 7

Henrik Dalsgaard – the Dane became the first Brentford player to participate at a World Cup this summer, but one would not have guessed it based on this performance. Dalsgaard looked a tad sloppy in possession and was very easily beaten by Adomah, although he looked more at home in the latter stages, when he got forward more. 4
Chris Mepham – the 20-year-old made his breakthrough into the first team last season and settled in very nicely alongside Andreas Bjelland. Here, he had the difficult assignment of negating a Kodjia high on confidence; the Welshman was therefore understandably forced back at times but in fairness to him, he stuck to that arduous task and did not allow space in behind. 7
Ezri Konsa – the Charlton academy graduate, also 20, is highly-rated for his ball playing ability; here though, perhaps a combination of nerves of playing at the biggest ground he has ever played at and the nature of Villa’s pressing meant he could not impose himself in quite the same way. It didn’t help, either, that he picked up a slight injury midway through the first half, which might be partly why he was turned so easily by Kodjia for the equalizer. 4
Yoann Barbet – the Frenchman is a centre-back by trade and that enabled him to defend his post well while the Bees came under the cosh. On the flip side, though, Barbet’s defensive instincts meant he did not offer too much pace, width or quality in possession. 6

Josh McEachran – with Ryan Woods’ long-term future up in the air, McEachran has grabbed his opportunity in the first three games but this was arguably his worst performance of the campaign. Although he’s technically capable, he lacks certain physical and mental qualities to fulfil requirements when The Bees needed more of a basic holding midfielder. Rightly replaced by Yennaris. 4
Lewis MacLeod – the young midfielder was forced into more circumspect role than he might have been used to. Similarly to McEachran, his lack of physical prowess didn’t help him but, perhaps dissimilarly to McEachran, he still showed an element of defensive diligence, did his best to try to shackle Grealish and always supported his teammates. 6
Romaine Sawyers – the St Kitts and Nevis international, who worked with Dean Smith at Walsall, had completed more passes in the opposing half than any other Championship player prior to kick-off. He wasn’t able to play in the way he likes here though, spending more time heading balls away in his own penalty area than calculating pathways into that of the opposition. Perhaps understandably, therefore, he showed a lack of sharpness in his passing when he was given those opportunities to pick through balls, but became more influential in the closing stages when the dynamics of the game suited him. 5

Sergi Canos – the Spaniard has been in goodform so far this year and he played a part in the opening goal, with a technically refined cross to the back-post. Otherwise though, he was almost non-existent and, considering he saw so little of the ball, perhaps needed to get closer to Adomah out of possession. 4
Neal Maupay – last season, part of the reason Brentford didn’t make the top six was a lack of ruthlessness up top but Maupay looks a different beast this year. In the build-up to the equalizer, he cleverly held his position while Watkins peeled off to the back-post, meaning that when the ball came to him, he could focus entirely on getting his body posture right and he did that superbly, rifling the ball into the net with real precision; he also showed a poacher’s instinct to bundle home Brentford’s late goal. Unfortunately, there was also an unwanted moment in the first half when he clearly stamped on McGinn, for which he should get a retrospective ban. 8
Ollie Watkins – the former Exeter forward, who has attracted admiring glances from Premier League clubs, possesses a wide range of qualities. We have seen already this season that he has reasonable mobility, clever movement and good technical ability, but in the lead-up to Maupay’s goal, he also showed strength and aerial ability when he won the flick-on. Skinned Tuanzebe on at least two occasions, one of which in the build-up to the second goal. 7

Kamohelo Mokotjo (on 45) – the midfielder was brought on to add a bit more physicality, which he did and more; the South African also offered quality in possession and carried the ball forward at times. 8
Nico Yennaris (on 60) – naturally more defensively alert than McEachran, the ex-Arsenal man not only helped shore things up in the midfield areas, he forced the best save of the match from Nyland with a powerful drive from distance. 8
Said Benrahma (on 72) – injected some skill and flair into Brentford’s attacking play, with one or two Crossfield balls in amongst the trickery. If Canos were to leave, one would be confident that the Algerian could step up. 7