Aston Villa 2-1 Derby County Player Ratings: McGinn key to win

Anwar El Ghazi heads home the opener – @SkyFootball

Aston Villa are back in the Premier League after a three-year absence, as goals from Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn gave them a 2-0 win over Derby County in the Championship Play-Off Final. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Aston Villa

Jed Steer – the goalkeeper finally seems to be getting his big break at Villa and after good performances in the Semi-Final, the former Charlton loanee more than earned this game at Wembley, even if he did not need to earn his clean sheet. Only asked to hold a first half Mount shot that was hit straight at him. 6

Ahmed Elmohamady – although the Egyptian did not have the extreme pace over short distances to get to the byline, he did show reasonable mobility over long distances which allowed him to get in the positions to produce several good crosses, including one to the back-post late in the first half that led to El Ghazi’s goal. 8
Axel Tuanzebe – the Manchester United loanee had the composure in possession to play his way out of tight situations and that helped Villa assume control. Did the basics very well. 8
Tyrone Mings – the aggressive centre-back was dominant in the air up against Bennett and was strong in the challenge when he needed to be. He produced a gallant, last-ditch challenge on Waghorn, but picked up an injury in the process, which was why Derby were able to score in that same move. 7
Neil Taylor – the left-back was solid enough, he was never beaten one-on-one and rarely gave possession away. Not the most exciting performance but in some respects, Villa needed that security with a mercurial winger in front of him. 6

Conor Hourihane – Villa looked much better in the Semi-Final with, rather than without Hourihane in that midfield and his passes out to wide areas were excellent, as was as a first-time ball into Abraham. Perhaps needs to work on his right foot over the summer but a strong performance. 7
John McGinn – the energetic midfielder pressed relentlessly with typical enthusiasm – often going as far as to close down the goalkeeper, as we saw with the goal he grabbed with an element of fortune. He was also a key part of Villa’s creative play, showing the improvisation to play a first-time ball into Grealish following a misplaced pass which created the game’s first big chance. A man-of-the-match performance from a player who will fit into the Premier League very well. 10
Jack Grealish – that’s a third star performance in four Wembley career appearances for Grealish, who retained possession high up the pitch, he eluded his challenges, drew free-kicks and slid several through balls with nimble effortlessness, whilst doing so much selfless work off the ball. The proficient playmaker deserves to get a big, European move this summer, because he has the ability to play at a very, very high level of football for the next decade. 9

Albert Adomah – the winger lacked the pace to test Cole directly, but because of the central creativity he was still able to get in the positions to deliver a high quality of crosses, thus vindicating Dean Smith’s selection. Villa’s performance level arguably dropped after he went off. 7
Tammy Abraham – the centre-forward found clear cut chances hard to come by early on yet he still used his athleticism to good effect, mainly because some of Derby’s key defensive performers were wary of him and thus backed off. Fired off-target following an excellent dribble just after the half-hour mark and continued to lead the press in the second half, which was key to stifling Derby’s momentum. 7
Anwar El Ghazi – any suggestions from some (including this blog) that El Ghazi’s performance might be affected by his commitment to Ramadan – which meant he could not take in any nutrients from 5am – were truthfully put to shame. El Ghazi had just as much if not more energy than usual, bursting past Jayden Bogle on numerous occasions and nodding home the opener at the back-post just before the break. 7

Andre Green (on 73) – the speedy winger did not have a particularly positive influence on the team’s performance and struggled to find scenarios in which he could use his pace. 5
Kortney Hause (on 86) – the composed defender has been perhaps unfortunate to find himself out of the XI for the season’s finale; he shored up the back-line here. 6

Derby County

Kelle Roos – the 26-year-old has been given the nod this season over the more experienced Scott Carson largely for his ball-playing qualities; while his distribution here was just as audacious as usual, he was also prone to the odd misplaced pass, including one that led to Grealish’s chance early on. Looked shaky and made a sizeable mistake for Villa’s second goal, when he failed to hold onto a deflected cross. 4

Jayden Bogle – the academy graduate’s strong debut season is testament to Lampard’s willingness to trust a teenager over the more seasoned Andre Wisdom; on the big stage, he made one or two good runs midway through the first half yet nerves might have crept in at times and he struggled to contain El Ghazi. Fired just wide of the far post with 10 to play. 6
Richard Keogh – the Derby stalwart, scarred perhaps by his costly error in this final five years ago, was determined to lead his side to victory this time. Sometimes though, he was so afraid of making another mistake that he backed off his opponents more than he perhaps should have done. Headed narrowly off-target following a corner shortly before Villa’s opener. 4
Fikayo Tomori – aside from one or two shaky moments, the Chelsea loanee appeared to be getting very close to becoming the complete defender. He showed the athleticism to win his basic defensive duels, yet he also showed the ball-playing qualities required to play some excellent forward passes. 6
Ashley Cole – the 38-year-old, playing most likely the final match of his illustrious career, did not quite produce the pace we might have seen from the suspended Scott Malone, but he showed the kind of defensive awareness we might expect from somebody who has played consistently at the top level. 4

Tom Huddlestone – the experienced midfielder lacked mobility, which was problematic in various phases of play. Huddlestone lacked the athleticism to be confident closing down his opponents in the press or in the defensive phase, then when he collected the ball he deliberated for long periods to look for the perfect pass, rather than one that would be more likely to speed up Derby’s tempo. 3
Bradley Johnson – the ex-Norwich midfielder tried to act as the powerhouse in this Rams side, but blocking out spaces in central areas for Grealish and McGinn proved easier said than done. He was also at fault arguably for two of the goals, slipping in the lead-up to the first and not blocking a cross with enough conviction for the second. 4
Mason Mount – the Chelsea loanee tried to drive Derby forward at times, linking midfield and attack. However, the lack of co-ordination in the team’s play made it difficult for Mount’s creative qualities to shine through. 7

Tom Lawrence – the individualistic wide forward made some strong runs in from the left channel, but the lack of width to the outside of him meant there were too many bodies in his way for the former Ipswich man to threaten goal to the extent he would perhaps have liked. 5
Mason Bennett – the Rams academy graduate has established himself this season as a wide forward and thus, he did not quite possess the qualities required to operate as a lone striker. 4
Harry Wilson – the Liverpool loanee, who had previously delivered his best performances on the biggest stages this season, unleashed one or two shots but could not quite find the level of quality he is usually able to deliver. 4

Jack Marriott (on 63) – the ex-Peterborough predator fired narrowly wide of the far post following a left-sided corner, then got his goal with a ruthless first-time finish; he might have led the line better than Bennett had he started. 7
Martyn Waghorn (on 69) – the former Ipswich man was brought on to provide a slightly more direct option up top and he occupied centre-backs well. 7
Florian Jozefzoon (on 73) – the direct, former Brentford winger tried to commit defenders when he came on and drastically improved the team’s rate of chance creation at once. 8