With the half-way point upon us, we’re ranking how Aston Villa’s midfielders have faired as we move away from 2019.

Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy


We’re edging ever closer to the second half of the Premier League season, a new year, and a new decade of Aston Villa. We’re continuing with our grading of player performances across the first half of the season – this time looking at midfielders.

The midfield has been possibly the most uncertain position regarding ‘starting’ players, as injuries, rotation and a lack of form has seen players drop in and out across the 20 games.

Midpoint player ratings: Aston Villa’s defenders

Conor Hourihane: C+

  • Minutes played: 826
  • Goals: 3
  • Assists: 1

Conor has found his game-time sporadic in the first half of the season, missing out on starts earlier in the season before being in and out of the starting line-up since then.

He’s struggled in some games, but provided match-turning moments in others. In his 13 appearances so far this season, he’s only played the entire game for three of those, and only started in five. He’s got a match winner in him, but at times can disappear in a game.

Douglas Luiz: C-

  • Minutes played: 933
  • Goals: 2
  • Assists: 0

Douglas has impressed with his long-range goals this season, but has lacked at times defensively – which is an issue when he’d been used in the holding midfield role ahead of Marvelous Nakamba.

Sometimes he has seemed lax on the ball – whether that’s a communication issue or otherwise – and he needs to improve his urgency moving forward.

Henri Lansbury: E

  • Minutes played: 90
  • Goals: 0
  • Assists: 0

Henri Lansbury has eight appearances this season, but only amassed 90 minutes across those. He’s struggled with the pace of the Premier League, but should have a goal to his name and would if it were not for Kevin Friend.

If this was the Carabao Cup, Lansbury would have at the very least a B+ – but his time in the squad during the Premier League season has been disappointing.

Jota Peleteiro: D-

  • Minutes played: 90
  • Goals: 0
  • Assists: 1

Jota is in the same boat as Henri Lansbury – 90 minutes across eight games. With an injury possibly hampering his game time, a slew of poor performances have not helped his case for game time either. Whether the step up from the Championship has been too much is a relevant question, but you would have expected Dean Smith to get more out of the Spaniard.

A singular assist saves him from the same ‘low’ fate of Lansbury, but only just.

Jack Grealish: A-

  • Minutes played: 1,742
  • Goals: 5
  • Assists: 5

Jack, as expected, has been the standout player in the squad so far. With ten goal involvements across 18 appearances, he has proven that he’s a Premier League quality player – although he took a number of games to get into the swing of things at the start of the season.

He’s missed two games through injury, but could have quite easily picked up a higher grade if those games had borne fruit for the midfielder.

John McGinn: B-

  • Minutes played: 1,662
  • Goals: 3
  • Assists: 2

Like Grealish, John McGinn has made the step up well, but all of his exceptional play came within the opening period of the season. Since then, he’s quietened down and looked like he has struggled to get into games at times.

A muscle tear injury hasn’t helped McGinn’s case, and now the midfielder finds himself out of the squad for a prolonged period after a nasty ankle injury against Southampton.

Marvelous Nakamba: C-

  • Minutes played: 1,140
  • Goals: 0
  • Assists: 0

Marvelous has been a little up-and-down during his first season at Aston Villa. Initially, he looked like the second coming of N’Golo Kante, but more recently looks lower on confidence and mistakes are creeping into his game.

The Zimbabwean will look to improve in the new year.

Overall Rating: C

The midfield have come under fire recently, especially in December, but without their involvement with goals and assists, Aston Villa’s position could be a little more precarious. There’s improvement needed in a number of areas still, though.

Note: Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet will be discussed in the forwards.

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