Aston Villa player ratings v Crystal Palace: Grealish stars but Gabby flops again

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

A late strike from Bakary Sako saw Tim Sherwood's side fall to a 2-1 defeat in Saturday's clash at Selhurst Park.

Brad Guzan 6/10 – Will take some blame for his distribution in the lead-up to Palace’s winner but was otherwise assured on crosses and could do little about the first goal.

Leandro Bacuna 5/10 – Put in a workmanlike shift down the right but nothing he tried in the attacking third seemed to come off. Caught out of position at the back a few times, too, leading to further questions over whether he should be starting in defence.

Micah Richards 7/10 – Villa’s best defender on the afternoon, as strong aerial presence and last-ditch challenges thwarted Palace’s attackers on several occasions.

Ciaran Clark 5/10 – Beaten all ends up on Scott Dann’s headed opener 20 minutes from the end, having looked like pre-2014 Clark for most of the match. With rumours of another centre-back being brought in, that wasn’t the performance he needed.

Jordan Amavi 5/10 – Had been putting in another impressive outing until a careless turnover allowed Sako to net the 87th-minute winner. A harsh reminder that he’s still far from the finished article.

Carlos Sanchez 6.5/10 – Was having a solid first game of the season in the holding role until being sacrificed for debutant Traore as Sherwood looked to push for a goal. Still, his tough-tackling performance was a positive sign for things to come this term.

Ashley Westwood 7/10 – He’ll receive few plaudits for his performance – as usual – but Villa's understated orchestrator managed to produce another efficient peformance in the centre of the park. As well as completing 96 per cent of his 50 passes, the former Crewe skipper created no less than five chances and also racked up three interceptions.

That said, he still shouldn’t be taking set-pieces.

Idrissa Gueye 5/10 – After his bright pre-season showings, the former Lille man was awful quiet at Palace, while he looked pedestrian when he did manage to get on the ball. All in all, not a great game for Villa’s summer signings from Ligue 1.

Jack Grealish 7.5/10 – Added a clear spark to the attack in his first appearance of the campaign, looking like a live wire in the Palace half – while having to deal with some rough treatment. Couldn’t inspire his hometown club to a result on his occasion but it seems like fans can expect him to pick up right where he left off last season.

Gabby Agbonlahor 4/10 – Wasted a glaring first-half chance and was otherwise a virtual passenger. Just looks bereft of confidence in front of goal at the moment and have to wonder how he wasn’t substituted.

Rudy Gestede 5/10 – Villa supplied him with more than enough deliveries but the towering front man couldn’t manage to show that aerial threat which helped him terrorise Championship defenders over the past 18 months.

SUBSTITUTES

Adama Traore (Sanchez 69) 7/10 – The former Barcelona winger made a big impact five minutes after coming on for his debut, as he dribbled past two defenders before forcing Papa Souare to turn the ball into his own net.

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