Late goals from Ollie Watkins and Captain Tyrone Mings gave Steven Gerrard the perfect start to life as Aston Villa manager.

Six minutes remained on the clock when Ollie Watkins picked up the ball on the left-hand side after a driving counter-attacking run from Ashley Young, before cutting inside and curling the ball into the top corner.

Mings followed up his first international goal in midweek by adding the second in the 89th minute; a sweet reaction finish with his right foot following up Webster’s last-ditch clearance.

The victory brought an end to the five-game losing streak, sparking celebratory scenes inside Villa Park.

Let’s see how the fans rated our boys in Claret and Blue, joining me today, Liam Davies, Joey Millington, Tom Parker and Gary Plaza



Formation 4-3-3

Emi Martinez – 8

Made two important saves in the first half, including a stunning smother from Lamptey when I think everyone was expecting to see the net bulge. Claimed all of his catches in commanding fashion in the second. A quiet game all in all, but assured in everything he did. Tom Parker

Matty Cash – 7

Fresh from making his debut for the Polish national side last week, Cash once again put in a dependable performance at club level on Saturday. Villa’s number two is becoming the archetypal modern full-back, equally as comfortable in bombing forward as he is in defending his flank. Unlucky not to score on several occasions, including a powerful header early on. Whilst he was caught out in a one-on-one by the marauding Moder on the stroke of half-time and booked late on for a foul on March, these were rare mistakes in an otherwise typically reliable Cash display. Joey Millington

Ezri Konsa – 9

Solid performance! Not sure what was said to the defence this week but it worked. Every player was solid and knew their role.

Mings and Konsa dealt with Duffy, Dunk and Webster with class. Winning every header and bodies on the line for the whole game.

If this is the start of things to cone then its going to be a very good season. Gary Plaza

Tyrone Mings – 9

Pictured: Aston Villa Captain, Tyrone Mings

Struggled to find a weakness from the number 5’s performance, and it was ever so close to being a perfect ten.

Whenever a ball entered the Villa box, only one man was getting his head on it, and that was Tyrone Mings. Commanding and vocal as ever at the back, and bagged a goal to put the cherry on top, celebrating in front of a packed Holte End. A proper captain’s display will only do his chances of keeping that title the world of good. Liam Davies


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Matt Targett – 8

The Matty Targett of last season reappears! Showed willingness to go forward, and played a key role in an excellent rearguard display. Much more like it. Tom Parker

Marvelous Nakamba – 7

Pictured: Marlevous Nakamba

Nakamba has come under pressure from some quarters for a handful of disappointing performances of late, and early on the Zimbabwean midfielder seemed to be in for yet another tough afternoon. His influence grew throughout the game, however, and the tenacious midfielder broke up play intelligently, rarely gave the ball away and was a constant nuisance to Brighton’s fluid midfield and front line. Cooly gathered the ball in his own penalty area and set Ashley Young away in the build-up to Villa’s opener. Joey Millington

John McGinn – 8

Was, for most of the game, the bright spark in the team. Every time we get to see a trademark McGinn ‘spinaroonie’ (McGinnaroonie?), You know it’s a good day!

His effort became clear when, following Watkins’ opener, he sank to his haunches rather than running to celebrate. There was a man who had run himself into the ground for his team. Tom Parker

Jacob Ramsey – 8

Great performance and one we needed in midfield after recent shows. His energy was what made the team tick.

He continued to pick up the ball and drive forwards. Without this i think as a team we would’ve struggled to get forward.

Eventually replaced but a performance ge can be proud of. Gary Plaza

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Emi Buendia – 5

Once again, the little Argentinian found it hard to get into the game, seeing very little of the ball, and when on it, wasteful and sloppy but not for the want of trying. The forward let out a burst of frustration after being dispossessed on the halfway line, which summed up his showing. A tough start to life at Villa for Emi who was replaced by gamechanger Ashley Young on the 74-minute mark. The number 10 will be looking for a chance to improve his form at Palace next time out. Liam Davies

Danny Ings – 5.5

Not a vintage performance from the former Southampton man on his return from injury. Continues to show glimpses of exciting link-up play with Ollie Watkins, although questions persist for now on just what formation and style of play will bring out the best in the two talented frontmen. Struggled to get on the ball, although his tireless running once again should be commended. When the right system is found Ings will be back to his prolific best. Joey Millington

Ollie Watkins – 8

Pictured: Ollie Watkins celebrating his opener

The man who scored the first goal of the Steven Gerrard era, and the one who sent Villa Park into raptures on 84 minutes. The game was calling out for a moment of magic, and boy did Ollie deliver just that. Having been sent through down the left by substitute Ashley Young, the number 11 brought it forward before eventually cutting in, taking it past several Brighton defenders, and finishing well past Jason Steele. This, partnered with his constant hard work off the ball, spells a fine days work for the Villa striker. Liam Davies


Leon Bailey (on for Ings, 66′) – 5

Pictured: Aston Villa and Jamaican International, Leon Bailey

Added pace to the front-line in the closing stages; fitness will improve now we have a good run of games pending without any International stoppages. Ryan Mckeown

Ashley Young (on for Buendia, 74′) – 7.5

Rolled back the years in his best performance since re-joining the club. Brilliant counter attacking drive through the midfield to play in Watkins who buried the opener! Ryan Mckeown

Anwar El Ghazi (on for J.Ramsey, 83′) – 6

Another attacking change at 0-0 which is pleasing to see from the new boss.

Made an excellent run taking two players with him to create the space for Watkins to cut inside and finish!

Subs not used: Jed Steer, Morgan Sanson, Axel Tuanzebe, Kortney Hause, Carney Chukwuemeka, Keinan Davis.

THE BOSS | Steven Gerrard – 10

Pictured: Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa Manager

Team selection – 7

The selection was as expected. Gerrard will need a good few weeks to review the players and how they fit within his system.

I think being able to field a back five of Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings and Targett for the first time since August helped. We looked assured and for the first time in a few months, we had our identity.

Both fullbacks were high up the field when attacking with numerous overlapping runs but what was more appealing was they would not be too far forward when we were out of possession.

In-Game Management – 10

The changes he made won us the game, made at the right time and the result shows this.

Bailey looked a constant threat but also hungry to show what he can do!

Ollie moving central was pivotal in the opening goal but so was his run and finish.

El Ghazi looked like he wanted to be there and ran both attacking and defensively.

Young coming on in the left-wing position rather than at left-back showed his belief and class. Definitely a game changer.

All this contributed to a superb team performance!

Gerrard’s Claret and Blue army has started their march! Gary Plaza


Aston Villa | Watkins 84′ Mings 89′


Brighton: Steele, Webster, Dunk, Duffy, Cucurella (March 64′), Moder, Groß (Mac Allister 89′), Bissouma, Lamptey (Maupay 79′), Trossard, Lallana.

Subs: Scherpen, Burn, Sarmiento, Locadia, Veltman, Richards.





Crystal Palace | Away | Saturday 27th November 2021 | 15:00


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