Aston Villa suffered a 2-1 defeat to Stevenage in our FA Cup third round tie on Sunday, after a late collapse saw us throw away our lead.
Morgan Sanson put us ahead in the first half with a well-taken goal, but Villa struggled in the opening 45 minutes to create and make best use of a significant amount of possession.
While Unai Emery sent his players out with more intent and urgency to start the second half, we couldn’t find a way through against a stubborn Stevenage defence, and we ultimately paid the price for that as we conceded two late goals.
From Leander Dendoncker’s awful play in the lead up to the first goal – which led to him getting sent off – to the shambolic defending for the second and Robin Olsen being beaten at his near post, there were big mistakes made by a lethargic and lacklustre Villa, who now have big questions to answer with their response against Leeds Utd on Friday.
Aston Villa player ratings vs Stevenage:
Robin Olsen, 5 – Didn’t have a great deal to do and was well beaten for some of the chances that Stevenage created. However, yet again allowed question marks to be raised over his reliability as he was poor to be beaten at his near post for the second goal in a fundamental part of the game for goalkeepers.
Matty Cash, 5 – Didn’t seem to want to venture too far forward in this one in what was perhaps a questionable instruction from Emery. Limited in attack and caught out defensively before being replaced after picking up an injury.
Calum Chambers, 4.5 – Offered no real solidity as he was beaten with the ball in behind down his side on a few occasions. Wasn’t great with his distribution either.
Jan Bednarek, 5 – An ok performance, as he came across and swept up danger well a couple of times, but the backline as a whole weren’t up to the task when called into action.
Ludwig Augustinsson, 5 – Another disappointing injury blow as he had to come off in the latter stages, and it was a similar story for him on the left side to Cash on the opposite flank. They didn’t offer us enough width to stretch the pitch and really test Stevenage. That said, when he did, he only had Ings to aim for in the box.
Morgan Sanson, 7 – Only one to really take his chance as he was tidy throughout as he put in a good shift for the team, while linking things together fairly well on that right side. Great run and finish to break the deadlock, and it’s hoped that’s something for him to build on in a Villa shirt rather than a parting gift.
Leander Dendoncker, 3 – Too ponderous and lethargic on the ball. Does well defensively with his physicality, but on the ball he slows things down too much. Caught out at the end as he gave away the penalty, received a red card and ultimately gift-wrapped the start of the comeback.
Douglas Luiz, 5 – Villa had plenty of possession and he did well to help us control proceedings. However, as with many of his teammates, didn’t do enough with the ball to really test Stevenage, as their defensive line was quite comfortable with what we did in front of them.
Philippe Coutinho, 4 – His form is a real concern now as he couldn’t even influence this game. Had a few wayward attempts on goal that were nowhere near testing their goalkeeper, and while he looked to get on the ball all the time to try and make something happen, he didn’t back it up with anything of substance.
Leon Bailey, 4 – Confidence looks to be gone now as after his big miss against Wolves, it was hoped he could bounce back immediately in this one. Instead, he was wasteful in front of goal and although he drove forward and threatened on occasion, he isn’t decisive in good positions.
Danny Ings, 6 – Worked hard for the team and produced an excellent assist for Sanson’s goal, but didn’t get the service to make a bigger impact. Often outnumbered in the box and that made it difficult for him to make the most of any chances that did come his way.
Emi Buendia, 5 – Tried to offer a spark off the bench but couldn’t really get going in the final third.
Jacob Ramsey, 5.5 – Big boost to have him back and showed his quality with some penetrating runs forward to help us create openings. Will hopefully be fit enough to start on Friday.
Ashley Young, N/A – Came on and wasn’t able to help the backline protect our lead.
Ollie Watkins, N/A – Really poor from him for the second goal as he was so slow to get out and block the shot.
Lucas Digne, N/A