Aston Villa player ratings v Birmingham: Grealish the game-changer

Jack Grealish

Rudy Gestede's second-half header saw Tim Sherwood's men claim a 1-0 home victory over their bitter rivals in the third round of the Capital One Cup.

Brad Guzan 6/10 – Didn’t have a lot to do aside from a confident stop from Jacques Maghoma with 16 minutes left.

Leandro Bacuna 6.5/10 – Kept Demarai Gray relatively quiet and got some joy down the right flank once things opened up a bit after the break. His crossing could have been better, though.

Micah Richards 8/10 – A rock at the back with his colossal aerial presence and crunching tackles. There’s a very strong argument to make that he’s been Villa’s best player so far this season.

Joleon Lescott 5/10 – Looked very shaky up against Clayton Donaldson before going off at half-time when Sherwood switched things up. Not a great start to his Villa career so far.

Jordan Amavi 7/10 – Came to life in the second-half, delivering an outstanding cross for Gestede to head home the 62nd-minute winner.

Ciaran Clark 6.5/10 – Wasn’t at all comfortable in a midfield role but few problems after being moved back into defence following the break. Deserves to start over Lescott moving forward.

Ashley Westwood 7/10 – A typical Westwood performance: defensively sound and neat on the ball. Baffling that he still takes set pieces, though.

Jordan Veretout 8/10 – A very impressive display from the 22-year-old Frenchman, who looked good on both sides of the ball and did a great job linking the midfield with the attack in the second-half. There’s a definite case for him to start on the weekend now.

Scott Sinclair 6/10 – Drifted in and out of the game but looked dangerous at times with some teasing efforts on goal.

Gabby Agbonlahor 5/10 – Was full of running throughout the first-half but did little of note, aside from getting booked for a crunching tackle on Stephen Gleeson. Replaced at the break.

Rudy Gestede 6/10 – Not the best performance overall but delivered when it mattered with a powerful second-half header to earn Villa bragging rights over the Blues.

SUBSTITUTES

Jack Grealish (Lescott 46) 8.5/10 – Changed the game with his pace, direct running and passing in the final third. Further proof of what a special talent he is.

Jordan Ayew (Agbonlahor 46) 7.5/10 – An extremely encouraging display from the summer signing, as he gave the opposition defence numerous problems when cutting inside from the flank. Should have done his confidence the world of good after a difficult start to life in the Midlands.

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