Aston Villa fell to a 3-2 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday as we opened up our Premier League campaign in disappointing fashion.
Goals from Dennis, Ismaila Sarr and Cucho Hernandez put the hosts 3-0 up with just over 20 minutes remaining, while John McGinn and Danny Ings grabbed two goals to threaten a comeback.
However, it wasn’t enough for a Villa side that was poor in the first half in particular, and so Dean Smith will have plenty to think about heading into next weekend’s encounter with Newcastle Utd at Villa Park.
Unsurprisingly, the entire team struggled to impress on what was a frustrating and bitterly disappointing day.
Villa player ratings vs Watford
Emiliano Martinez: 6 – Will be disappointed not to have kept Watford’s opener out but beaten by an unfortunate deflection for the second and could do little to stop a brilliant strike for their third. Frustrating start after his clean sheet tally from last season.
Matty Cash: 5 – Put in a shift defensively but offered little quality in possession as he looked uneasy and lacking confidence when trying to build play.
Ezri Konsa: 5 – Uncharacteristically shaky at times as he was caught out of position and wasn’t at his best with Watford breaking at us from midfield. Will hope to improve as his match fitness picks up.
Tyrone Mings: 6 – Difficult afternoon for the entire backline, but on the day he was named captain, he did put himself about and continued to battle to try and get back into the game. Unfortunate for the second goal with his deflection sending it looping over Martinez.
Matt Targett: 4 – A game he’ll want to forget quickly after being given a torrid time by Sarr. He simply couldn’t cope with the Watford winger and was replaced at half-time.
John McGinn: 6.5 – A real battling performance from our midfield man as although we looked too lightweight in that department and need a proper enforcer to grab control of the game, he never stopped running and working hard for his team. Capped it off with a brilliant goal.
Marvelous Nakamba: 5.5 – Similar to McGinn in the sense that he tried his best to control the midfield but it was all too much at times as we were overrun in that area. Showed his quality but was a struggle overall.
Anwar El Ghazi: 4 – Offered little to nothing in the final third as he was largely ineffective and was unable to produce any real quality to help unlock Watford.
Emiliano Buendia: 5 – A tough debut for the Argentine as although he worked hard off the ball and looked for possession to try and make something happen, he couldn’t quite pull anything off and was replaced in the second half.
Ashley Young: 5 – Showed his experience and versatility to fill two roles, but it was perhaps in the latter as a left-back that he settled and showed us more having struggled to make anything happen in attack on the left side. Also failed to offer any protection or help for Targett as he struggled with Sarr.
Danny Ings: 6 – Aside from some lovely movement in the first half as he looked lively and on his toes throughout, he managed to grab a goal from the penalty spot to open his account for Villa on what was a decent debut.
Jacob Ramsey: 6 – Made an immediate impact off the bench as we started to get a foothold in midfield. Looked threatening initially, but couldn’t really produce that end product that is still missing from his game at this level.
Leon Bailey: 6.5 – Made an excellent first impression as he was sharp and positive on the ball after being introduced in the second half. Will of course offer more in the coming weeks and months, but it was an exciting first glimpse at our summer signing.
Bertrand Traore: 6 – Similarly to Bailey, he offered more quality in attack after coming on, and did well to win the late penalty that Ings converted. Still working to full fitness, but will be desperate to avoid losing his place in the side long-term.