Aston Villa player ratings v West Ham: Grealish and Cleverley shine

Jack Grealish

Tom Cleverley's first-half goal earned Tim Sherwood's men a 1-0 win at Villa Park to push them closer towards safety.

Shay Given 7/10 – Keeping his place between the posts, the Irishman didn’t have much to do on the afternoon but did make one fantastic second-half save on James Collins to help preserve his clean sheet and Villa’s lead.

Leandro Bacuna 7/10 – Now first-choice over Hutton, the Dutchman was once again a vital offensive threat down the flank, making a team-leading seven crosses during his 77 minutes on the pitch. The deliveries themselves could improve somewhat, though.

Jores Okore 7.5/10 – An absolute rock at the back, as he dealt with whatever was thrown at him with the look of an elite Premier League defender. Considering he won’t turn 23 until August, Villa fans should be more than excited about his potential.

Ron Vlaar 7/10 – Made up for a subpar showing against Everton, putting in a commanding performance to help subdue West Ham’s attack.

Kieran Richardson 7/10 – Has improved a huge amount since his horror show against QPR, as neither Stewart Downing nor Carl Jenkinson managed to trouble him on the whole.

Ashley Westwood 7/10 – While he keeps getting overlooked due to his fellow midfielder’s attacking exploits, Westwood’s form has been just as vital to Villa’s recent run of results, as he performs his no-nonsense job in front of the defence to a tee.

Tom Cleverley 8.5/10 – A 31st-minute finish made it three goals in three games for the Manchester United loanee, whose turnaround since Sherwood’s arrival is growing more and more remarkable. Based on his recent showings, the club must pull out all the stops this summer in an effort to bring him back on a permanent deal.

Fabian Delph 8/10 – Buzzed around the opposition half with his outstanding work rate, while completing 91 per cent of his passes, creating three chances and recording three crosses and three shots. Sherwood’s claim that his skipper is the league’s best midfielder on current form doesn’t seem so outlandish now.

Charles N’Zogbia 5.5/10 – Had a few bright moments in the first-half but seemed to slow after the break, before being withdraw for Agbonlahor with 20 minutes left. After his recent upturn in form, it was a disappointing outing.

Jack Grealish 9/10 – An outstanding performance from the teenager, who troubled the opposition defence throughout with his passing, dribbling and movement. Assisted Cleverley’s goal with a neat pass and received a much-deserved a standing ovation when substituted in injury-time.

Christian Benteke 7/10 – Couldn’t continue his scoring run but posed the Hammers defence some real problems with his strength up top, as rookie Reece Burke in particular was given a torrid time.

SUBSTITUTES

Gabriel Agbonlahor (N’Zogbia 70) 6/10 – The fit-again striker could have bagged a late goal on his return to action but pocked his close-range effort just wide.

Alan Hutton (Bacuna 77) 6/10 – Brought on in the closing stages to help shore up the defence.

Carlos Sanchez (Grealish 90) N/A

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