Aston Villa fell to a 2-1 defeat to Man City on Wednesday night, but there were further signs of encouragement for Steven Gerrard.
Goals from Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva put the visitors in control at half-time, as they showed their class and clinical edge to take advantage of their superior possession in the opening 45 minutes.
However, an early strike from Ollie Watkins after the break gave Villa renewed belief, and while we had our moments and chances, with Carney Chukwuemeka with the biggest in the second half, we ultimately couldn’t find that second goal to take something from the game.
Gerrard will be disappointed after his first loss since taking charge of Villa, but there were positive signs in the second half as we pushed City and were unfortunate not to salvage a point.
Aston Villa player ratings vs Man City
Emiliano Martinez, 6.5 – Not a great deal he could have done on either goal such was the quality of the finishing, but he did produce some key saves when called into action.
Matty Cash, 7 – Loved his determination and grit in this one. Had his hands full defensively, but stuck to his task brilliantly and continued to plug away and tried to also offer us an attacking outlet too.
Ezri Konsa, 7 – A strong performance in the heart of the backline as he made key interventions, offered a solid physical presence and marshalled the defence well at times too.
Tyrone Mings, 6.5 – Was similarly solid for the most part as he did well to limit City’s threat in key areas, but he has to do better in the lead up to the second goal. Lost the initial run, didn’t react and track back quick enough to cut out the resulting cross which Silva finished brilliantly.
Matt Targett, 6 – Did ok on a difficult night given the different threats that he faced on his flank and the way in which City outnumbered us in wide areas. Went off with a head injury, which hopefully isn’t serious and won’t force him to miss any playing time.
John McGinn, 6.5 – Battled hard in midfield throughout as he tried to give us a foothold in the game. As with his teammates, he struggled in the first half to influence things, but he played a big part in giving us a sense on control to threaten a comeback in the second half.
Marvelous Nakamba, 7 – A little sloppy at times, but another strong outing for the midfield ace as he did well to break things up in front of the defence and offer protection while trying to get on the ball and get us ticking along. Added some physicality and bite after the break which helped Villa improve.
Douglas Luiz, 7 – Provided the assist for the goal, and was a classy presence in midfield as he showed technical quality when he could while also getting stuck in and battling off the ball to try and give us a sense of control over proceedings. Glad to see him back in the starting XI again as he makes a big difference to our general midfield play.
Leon Bailey, 4 – Another disappointing injury setback suffered early on, and it now looks as though he’ll have to sit out a few more weeks given it appeared to be another muscular issue. Took too long on the ball in the first half as some big openings passed us by on the counter attack.
Ollie Watkins, 7.5 – Excellent display. Got the goal which he deserved as he worked tirelessly off the ball with his defensive work and pressing to help make City look at least slightly uncomfortable. Albeit Danny Ings is out due to injury currently and so that limits Gerrard’s options, playing Watkins up top through the middle by himself is surely the way to go.
Emiliano Buendia, 7 – Frustrating at times as he still looks a little lightweight and not quite up to the pace of the game, but produced some really classy moments as he showcased some flair and creativity to trouble City. Unfortunate not to get a brilliant assist as Chukwuemeka’s effort was saved.
Ashley Young, 7 – Just another top shift from the stalwart as he initially came on as a right winger to replace Bailey, but ended the game as a left-back and looked more than comfortable in that position too with his versatility proving to be very useful.
Carney Chukwuemeka, 6 – Added fresh legs and impetus to our midfield and general play, will be kicking himself though after missing a critical chance with the score at 1-2. Ederson produced a fine save, but that should have been buried.
Morgan Sanson, 6 – Only a short time on the pitch, but a promising cameo appearance from the Frenchman as he added some class in midfield with his passing and ability to switch the play, while his control and quality getting past players and out of trouble was also a promising sign.