With the Average Player Rating system down for a while it is now back up and running and up-to-date. At the end of every Match Report is a rating of each player for that game with some pretty uninspiring stats to date. With a rating of 6 ranking as average in my books, there are no consistent first teamers over a rating of 7.
The star player according to the stats is Marc Albrighton who was named as Villa’s Player of the Month for the last two months. With the youngster now out for another 2 weeks and having missed the last two games, many of Villa’s ‘big-names’ are under performing. Albrighton has an average rating of 6.90 over the season which leaves him just ahead of another hot prospect at the club.
Ciaran Clark capped a decent run of form with a man of the match performance and his first 2 senior goals for the club. The defender, who has been operating in a central midfield role since the injuries to Stiliyan Petrov and Nigel Reo-Coker, has an average rating of 6.75. This score is matched by the much maligned Emile Heskey who made a mini revival after Houllier joined the club but has since joined the casualty ward that is the Villa Park treatment room.
Injuries have led to stop-start seasons for the likes of John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor who are yet to show their fitness or form this term. In the combined 15 Premier League appearances by the duo (9 starts), they have failed to score a single goal which has led to Villa’s downfall. The clubs senior strikers have just 2 league goals between them through solitary strikes from Heskey and Delfouneso. Agbonlahor and Carew both rank at 6.00 highlighting their distinctly average starts to the campaign.
Aston Villa captain, Stiliyan Petrov has also struggled for form this season. Though his work rate cannot be doubted it seems the creativity has been sucked out of him in his defensive midfield role after he impressed in a free role at Celtic. Petrov, rating at 5.87, is one of just two players to have had a sub-6 average rating for their start to the season. Habib Beye has never really taken Villa by storm after being bought as a back-up defender. The Senegalese international is prone to errors and has made some costly ones already this season, namely in the second leg of the defeat to Rapid Vienna, and averages a rating of just 5.25 in his 6 appearances in all competitions.
In terms of form over the last 5 games, summer signing Stephen Ireland has struggled of late. Knocks and inconsistency have led Ireland to become somewhat of a bench warmer despite his undoubted capacity to impress in an attacking sense. Personally, I think he needs to be given a chance at a run in the team but saying that, illness has just ruled him out of tonights game with Birmingham. The midfielder has made just 5 league starts and in his last 5 outings has failed to receive upwards of a 6 rating. Stephen Warnock has received two ratings of 5 in a row after a shocking performance at former club Blackburn, was followed by an equally dodgy display in the 4-2 defeat to Arsenal.
Marc Albrighton’s form before his illness hit was a stand out positive for Gerard Houllier. In his last 5 games the 21-year-old has not received lower than a 7 and this was topped by an excellent display against Manchester United where he scored his third goal of the season.
Barry Bannan also deserves a mention as well as the likes of James Collins and Nigel Reo-Coker who have been dependable but inconsistency from the likes of Richard Dunne, Ashley Young and even top goalscorer Stewart Downing has left Villa languishing in 15th. Albrighton’s return will be crucial along with Reo-Coker who is nearing a recovery but it is up front where somebody really needs to ignite a spark and revive Villa’s disappointing season
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