Aston Villa were able to gain back-to-back wins in the Premier League last night, beating Fulham 3-0 away from home.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa have walked into the new Premier League season with a swagger, defeating both Sheffield United, and more recently Fulham, to gain an unbeaten start to their season.
Against Fulham, the Aston Villa side were strong in attack and defence, and left Craven Cottage deserved winners with a 3-0 scoreline.
But how did the players perform? We’ve rated each performance from yesterday’s game.
Emiliano Martinez – 7
Emiliano performed well between the sticks, but was rarely tested. The new arrival picked up Man of the Match in the previous game for an outstanding penalty save – and managed an acrobatic dive to tip a shot onto the crossbar against Fulham.
However, if VAR and the pitch-side screen didn’t intervene, Martinez would have been at fault for what would have been a potential route back into the tie for Fulham, as he spilt a shot directly into the path of Decordova-Reid.
Matty Cash – 8
Matty Cash followed on from his strong debut with another exceptional performance at right-back.
This new recruit was eager to press high, win the ball high-up the pitch, and track back should he not succeed.
There was a key tackle in Cash’s performance too, sweeping in to cover for Ezri Konsa and stop the on-rushing Mitrovic from getting through on goal.
Ezri Konsa – 7
Another assured performance from Ezri at centre-back saw him aid Aston Villa in another clean sheet this season.
The centre-back rarely put a foot wrong, and is proving that his partnership with Tyrone Mings is certainly flourishing.
Konsa put himself about to ensure that the likes of Mitrovic struggled, despite a high number of chances.
Tyrone Mings – 8 (Man of the Match)
There were three or four possible Man of the Match performances in this game, but Tyrone Mings certainly performed the way that fans have come to expect from the England International. He was like a brick wall.
Most balls into the box were headed or cleared away by Mings, and he consistently put Fulham’s attackers under pressure.
The centre-back was high in his press, but quick to get back into position, played a number of key balls to start an Aston Villa attack, and even got himself on the scoresheet with a goal similar to the one that he scored at Old Trafford last season.
Matt Targett – 6
Matt Targett had a poor game by his standards. Booked within the first ten minutes, the left-back then had to be wary facing up against the likes of Decordova-Reid and Tete down the right.
He was called out a number of times, audibly, by Tyrone Mings who was forced to cover for him – and he struggled with jumping too.
A high number of Fulham’s chances in the game came from the right flank, and that showcases that Targett was unable to either close down, or track his man.
Douglas Luiz – 6 (Subbed, Nakamba 87′)
A quiet game by the Brazilian’s standards, the holding midfielder struggled at times to track Anguissa in the middle of the park. Anguissa looked like one of Fulham’s biggest threats, which in turn, means that Douglas didn’t have the best of games.
He was by no means bad, and offered a great outlet to get the ball forward when Fulham were pressing high by dropping between Konsa and Mings.
John McGinn – 8
John McGinn looked like he was back to his former self against Fulham, picking up two assists and racing around the pitch with his usual ‘bulldog’ approach.
The Scotland international found Grealish with an exquisite lob that all but rendered Fulham’s defence useless early into the game, which resulted with Aston Villa taking the lead.
He picked up a second assist for Hourihane’s goal, with his touch stopping the ball perfectly for the Irishman to strike past Areola.
And wow, that roulette spin.
Conor Hourihane – 7 (Subbed, Ramsey 76′)
Hourihane had a good game, by all accounts. He scored the second goal, a right-footed rarity into the bottom right – and set up Tyrone Mings’ goal just after the start of the second half.
Despite a good performance, the Republic of Ireland international sometimes looks slow and phases in and out of games, and this was likely the reason why the midfielder was subbed for Jacob Ramsey.
Trezeguet – 6 (Subbed, Traore 84′)
Trezeguet is looking better than last season. He’s more lively, and he’s actively defending in the right positions and at the right times. He offers something moving forwards, but lacks at times with the accuracy of his passing or crossing.
He has areas to improve in, but didn’t have a bad game in any sense of the word.
Jack Grealish – 8
Jack scored the opening goal of the game, and it definitely wasn’t an easy goal to score. He offered a consistent threat and caused problems for the Fulham defence.
His quick thinking practically made the second goal, with his smart throw-in and follow-up run to take the ball back from Watkins.
And as always, he picked up fouls and we were awarded set-pieces – which we were able to capitalise on in this game.
Ollie Watkins – 7
Although the forward didn’t score, Watkins made a nuisance of himself up top, got into all the right positions, and had a strong all-round game.
The striker won more aerial duels than any other player on the pitch, with seven, and could have had a goal with a similar shot to the one he produced against Sheffield United.
It will come for Ollie.
Jacob Ramsey – 6
Bertrand Traore – 6
Marvelous Nakamba – N/A