Aston Villa player ratings v Stoke: Scott Sinclair a rare bright spark

Aston Villa

Marko Arnautovic's second-half double rendered Leandro Bacuna's late strike meaningless as Villa fell to a 2-1 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

Mark Bunn 6.5/10 – Ended up tangled in the back of the net while attempting to stop Marko Arnautovic’s 56th-minute second but otherwise did a good job of limiting the damage. Even had to make a couple of saves to prevent Okore from scoring at the wrong end.

Alan Hutton 5/10 – Given the start over Richards, the Scot had a torrid time up against Arnautovic and offered little going forward. His effort can’t be faulted but that’s little consolation.

Jores Okore 6/10 – Almost netted two own goals in either half but was responsible for some impressive last-ditch defending over the course of the afternoon, recording eight tackles and 11 clearances.

Joelon Lescott 5.5/10 – A generally solid display was overshadowed by some truly terrible defending on Arnautovic’s second – not what he needed after his recent Twitter antics.

Aly Cissokho 6/10 – Struggled to contain Xherdan Shaqiri but did have some good moments down the left, with one of his crosses leading to Bacuna’s goal.

Idrissa Gana 5.5/10 – Started relatively brightly but was largely anonymous after the restart. Didn’t help that he was forced to sit back and defend for long stretches, though.

Ashley Westwood 5/10 – Gave away a 51st-minute penalty which Arnautovic duly dispatched and was overrun in midfield for most of the match. It’s been a while since his last decent performance.

Leandro Bacuna 5/10 – Drove in Villa’s consolation goal with 11 minutes remaining but that was about his only positive contribution of the afternoon. In reality, he’ll be lucky if he keeps his place in the side.

Carles Gil 5/10 – Hauled off for Sinclair before the hour after struggling to stamp his influence on the game. Has so much potential but just doesn’t seem to be able to put together a consistent run of form.

Jordan Veretout 4.5/10 – Neat on the ball but a miscued shot late in the first half was about all he offered in the final third. Confidence looks shot to pieces at the moment.

Gabby Agbonlahor 5/10 – Struggled with such little service up top but never looked dangerous on the rare occasions that he did see the ball either, failing to register a single shot.

SUBSTITUTES

Scott Sinclair (Gil 58) 7/10 – Made an exceedingly good claim for a starting spot by creating some of Villa's brightest moments with his direct running during the final half-hour.

Rudy Gestede (Veretout 77) 6.5/10 – Laid the ball off for Bacuna for the goal – albeit in somewhat awkward fashion – and caused the Stoke defenders some problems during the closing stages. Should have been on earlier.

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