Aston Villa secured a 2-0 win over Brighton on Saturday as Steven Gerrard’s tenure began with a much-needed win and clean sheet.
Villa started both halves brightly, but the visitors looked comfortable for large periods and enjoyed plenty of possession as we struggled to create clear-cut chances.
However, an explosive end to the game saw goals from Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings secure the victory for us, as Gerrard enjoyed a positive start to life as Villa boss, albeit with plenty still to work on moving forward.
Villa player ratings vs Brighton:
Emiliano Martinez, 8 – Made two crucial saves in the first half to keep it at 0-0 and that ultimately proved to be critical as we went on to win the game. Alert to danger throughout in a solid performance.
Matty Cash, 8 – Industrious, gritty and determined as ever, he worked hard getting up and down the right flank to keep things tight defensively and give us a threat out wide.
Ezri Konsa, 7 – Good to have him back after serving his one-match suspension. Added a steeliness and composure to the backline in a solid outing.
Tyrone Mings, 8 – Brilliant from the Villa skipper in this one. Defended with a no-nonsense attitude, showed more calmness in possession and popped up with a crucial goal to kill the game and seal the three points.
Matt Targett, 7 – Had his struggles dealing with Lamptey throughout, but showed some grit and got stuck into the battle whereas he has been poor in previous weeks when under pressure.
John McGinn, 8 – All-action from the Scottish midfielder as he was bullish out of possession and accurate with his distribution as he played a leading role in the win, albeit we did struggle in midfield again as Brighton controlled things for most of the game.
Marvelous Nakamba, 6 – Another one who put in a gritty performance as he was constantly busy and trying to win back the ball in midfield with snappy tackles and interceptions. A bit too lightweight and not enough quality on the ball to make the difference though.
Jacob Ramsey, 7 – Led our press in the first half and set the tone with his carrying of the ball into dangerous areas from midfield. Influence waned as the game went on, but a good outing that will surely put him at the forefront of Gerrard’s plans in the coming weeks.
Emiliano Buendia, 5.5 – Another frustrating afternoon for the Argentine, as while he did display moments of class in the final third, they were all too rare as he found it difficult to provide much quality when receiving the ball.
Danny Ings, 5 – Struggled in this one as he never really got into the game. Coupled with the fact that Villa looked more threatening after he was replaced, it remains to be seen if Gerrard sticks with him in the next game or opts to shuffle the pack if he liked what he saw.
Ollie Watkins, 8 – Scored a superb goal to set Villa Park alight late on, as he marked his 50th Villa appearance with a beauty. Villa needed that level of quality to make something happen, and Watkins produced it in a performance that Gerrard would have loved in terms of his work ethic and desire.
Leon Bailey, 5.5 – Struggled a bit to get up to the pace of the game but will hopefully pick things up as he gets more playing time.
Ashley Young, 7 – Had a major impact after coming on. Provided the ball that set Watkins away for our first goal and continued to be influential in our play thereafter.
Anwar El Ghazi, N/A