Aston Villa player ratings v Braga: Gil and Gabby brighten things up

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

Tim Sherwood's men played out a 0-0 draw with their Portuguese opponents in Friday night's second pre-season matchup.

First-half

Mark Bunn 6.5/10 – A virtual spectator during the first-half and didn’t have much more to do after the break either until producing spectacular 86th-minute save to keep his side level. The lone starter to go the full 90 minutes.

Alan Hutton 7/10 – Got forward with aplomb to deliver a number of teasing crosses.

Micah Richards 7/10 – Very impressive in the air, while looking every part a centre-half in cleaning things up at the back. The signs are promising so far.

Ciaran Clark 7/10 – Tested on few occasions but made no mistakes and distributed the ball well out of the back.

Aly Cissokho 7/10 – Given little trouble in defence and showed no hesitation in getting forward – unlike last season. Crossing still needs a lot of work, though.

Ashley Westwood 6.5/10 – Solid, if unspectacular, in a holding role in front of the back four. You’ll be hearing that statement a lot over the course of coming season.

Gary Gardner 7/10 – Didn’t provide much in the final third, aside from a 12th-minute free-kick that was fired straight into the wall. Was solid in possession, though, and strong in the tackle to boot.

Leandro Bacuna 7/10 – Looked comfortable in an advanced role, as he and Hutton combined to give Braga all kinds of problems down the right. Had a great chance to score after connecting with Agbonlahor’s 33rd-minute cross but headed the ball straight to the keeper.

Carles Gil 8/10 – Villa’s star performer of the first-half. Buzzed all over the pitch, threaded some lovely balls through to Agbonlahor and even impressed defensively when tracking back. Has to be back in Sherwood’s plans now.

Scott Sinclair 6.5/10 – Should have opened the scoring just before the half-time after a great run down the left flank but saw his shot sail well wide. Didn’t see too much of the ball otherwise but linked up well with Agbonlahor on a couple of occasions.

Gabby Agbonlahor 7.5/10 – Could have had a hat-trick in his 45-minute run-out, having been involved in most of Villa’s best first-half chances. Brought down when breaking through on goal in the 11th-minute, had a couple of errant shots soon after and fired a powerful strike off the cross bar moments before Sinclair’s aforementioned chance.

Second-half

Niall Mason 7/10 – Showed his versatility by lining up at right-back and certainly didn’t look out of place. An under-the-radar summer signing from Southampton, the teenage midfielder could go on to prove quite a pick-up.

Janoi Donacien 7/10 – Committed a couple of poor turnovers but let nothing past him during an overall strong outing.

Nathan Baker 7/10 – A real rock at the back, proving unbeatable in the air.

Kieran Richardson 6.5/10 – Couldn’t get forward as much as he would have liked but gave a good account of himself in defence.

Riccardo Calder 7/10 – Always pushing to win the ball and drive things forward. Certainly looks like he could be the next prospect to make the breakthrough into Sherwood’s first-team.

Joe Cole 6.5/10 – Showed well in a deeper midfield role but couldn’t quite get things going in attack. Looks fully fit, though, which is the main plus after an injury-hit first season in the Midlands.

Aleksandar Tonev 5/10 – A disappointing evening for the Bulgarian winger, who just couldn’t get involved in proceedings. Needs to do a lot more to push himself into Sherwood’s plans.

Chares N’Zogbia 5.5/10 – Showed a few bright moments, including a powerful free-kick that hit the post 13 minutes from the end, but flattered to deceive for the most part.

Callum Robinson 6/10 – A bit of a flat outing on the left flank but work rate can’t be faulted.

Libor Kozak 6/10 – Isolated up top but worked hard and showed some good movement off the ball. The comeback bid is going well so far.

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