West Brom 2 Aston Villa 2: Player ratings as derby finishes all square

West Brom 2 Aston Villa 2: Player ratings as Ashley Westwood completes a two-goal fightback at the Hawthorns

Paddy Dinham
By Paddy Dinham
West Brom
2
Aston Villa
2

West Bromwich Albion

Boaz Myhill Had the sort of game that goalkeepers despise. No great saves of note to make and yet beaten by two unstoppable finishes. 5/10

Steven Reid Looked comfortable in his defending and passing initially, but his lack of pace was exposed a lot more after Villa’s triple substitution. 6

Jonas Olsson As the organiser of the defence, he will be annoyed that Villa scored their first after winning the first and second balls from a poor Bacuna cross. During the visitors’ spell of dominance he did a good job of keeping the defence in line as Benteke, Agbonlahor and El Ahmadi were all caught offside at crucial moments. 6

Gareth McAuley Coming up against the height of Kozak and Benteke, he was always going to be in for a tough evening and lose some headers but he found a way of dealing with the threat effectively. 7

Goran Popov Got up and down the left-hand side tirelessly but never seemed eager to provide an overlapping option. His clearing header fell straight to Westwood who had the space to fire home. Substituted. 5

Youssouf Mulumbu As always, did a superb job of making sure that the opposition could not play through West Brom. Everything either had to go wide or over the top. Unfortunately his defence twice let him down from crosses. 7

Claudio Yacob When he plays well, so does his team and the first hour of this game was no exception as he displayed outstanding positioning, tackling and passing. Had more to deal with as the game went on and looked a bit shakier. Turned his back early on Westwood’s shot when he could have closed him down more. 6

Morgan Amalfitano A class act as he took full ownership of the space in between Villa’s midfield and back four. Quick, skilful, composed and used the ball well. Surely the Baggies will try to secure his services on a permanent basis. 7

Stephane Sessegnon Looked dangerous when on the ball but was caught offside too often and his final ball was a little bit disappointing. Missed two great chances as well. Substituted. 5

Chris Brunt Wonderful diagonal ball to set Long away for the opening goal. Has not had a great deal of first team football this season and this showed as the Northern Irishman tired throughout the game. 6

Shane Long (man of the match) Two magnificently taken goals. On both occasions he showed an elegant touch followed by a supreme finish. The first an emphatic one with his left, the second a precise one with his right. Aside from his goals, he looked positive and full of running. Denied a hat-trick by Guzan and Vlaar. 8

Substitutes

James Morrison Brought on to make things more stable but the equaliser came three minutes later. To his credit he was involved in some good attacking play as West Brom pushed for a late winner. 6

Victor Anichebe N/A

Aston Villa

Brad Guzan Nothing he could do to about either goal other than berate his defence. Aside from that, his handling was solid and he made a decent save from Long. 6

Leandro Bacuna An appalling pass across the face of his own goal gave the ball to Long who scored, almost putting the game beyond Villa within the opening ten minutes. Did not defend well and most of his crossing was wayward. 4

Nathan Baker Had a really difficult evening. Made to look foolish by Long for both goals as the Irishman rounded the hapless centre-back and left him for dead twice. Improved somewhat as the game went on. 5

Ron Vlaar Forced to do the work of two centre-halves early on with Baker all at sea. The experienced Dutchman made some crucial last-ditch tackles. 7

Ciaran Clark Did okay defensively but there was no disguising the fact he is more comfortable in the centre as he made no real attempt to get forward. Attacking full-backs are such a crucial part of the modern game and it left his side so short of options out wide. 5

Ashley Westwood High-energy performance from the improved midfielder. Won the ball so many times for his side and capped a good performance with an absolutely stunning equaliser from 25 yards. 8

Karim El Ahmadi His first half was summed up when he got in the way of Benteke’s goal-bound shot. Nothing he tried came off as West Brom were just too organised in the middle of the pitch. Great finish to drag his side back into it though. 7

Yacouba Sylla Almost a complete non-entity other than a few misplaced passes. Substituted. 4

Aleksandar Tonev Did little to prove that he is good enough for the intensity of the Premier League. Substituted. 4

Christian Benteke Won his fair share of aerial duels but he looked isolated at times as his partnership with Kozak never really came together. So much more involved after the introduction of Agbonlahor and Weimann. 7

Libor Kozak Very unlucky to see a 20-yard effort hit the crossbar having done well to get the ball out of his feet. Otherwise quiet. Substituted. 5

Substitutes

Gabriel Agbonlahor His pace and directness gave Villa a completely fresh dimension. Like his fellow replacements he should have started, regardless of fitness. 7

Andreas Weimann Almost made an immediate impact when he was introduced in the triple change as his deflected shot went just past the post. Did well to set up his side’s first goal. 7

Fabian Delph Has been Paul Lambert’s best midfielder this season and he showed this with a cultured display of passing. 7

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