Aston Villa player ratings v Sheffield Wednesday: Tommy Elphick leads by example

Aston Villa's Tommy Elphick receives treatment after sustaining a injury following a collision with Sheffield Wednesday's Steven Fletcher

A late error by goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini saw Roberto Di Matteo's men fall to a 1-0 defeat in Sunday's season opener at Hillsborough.

Aston Villa's Tommy Elphick receives treatment after sustaining a injury following a collision with Sheffield Wednesday's Steven Fletcher

Pierluigi Gollini 6.5/10 – Gifted Fernando Forestieri his 85th-minute winner with a miscued kick but deserves credit for an otherwise impressive performance. The Italian debutant made a handful of solid saves over the course of the afternoon and commanded his box with composure.

Alan Hutton 5.5/10 – Provided plenty of effort but still not nearly enough quality to justify his place in the side. It wouldn’t be hard for Villa to find an upgrade at right-back if this is the best he can offer.

Tommy Elphick 7.5/10 – A steely display by the new skipper. Was always barking out orders and organising things at the back, while also racking up a team-leading eight clearances.

Nathan Baker 7/10 – The 25-year-old’s season-long loan spell at Bristol City seems to have done him the world of good. Looked solid throughout and distributed the ball out of the back well.

Sheffield Wednesday's Kieran Lee in action with Aston Villa's Nathan Baker

Aly Cissokho 5/10 – A liability at the back and not much better going forward. Probably shouldn’t expect to be in the line-up for long with Jordan Amavi now fit enough to make the bench.

Ashley Westwood 6/10 – A typical Westwood performance: quietly efficient in possession and came close with a couple of long-range efforts. Still, he needs to show he can offer more in the second tier.

Gary Gardner 5/10 – Playing in his first competitive game for Villa since May 2013, the homegrown midfielder had an afternoon to forget. Looked off the pace and completed just 10 of 17 passes before going off for Tshibola with 20 minutes left. There will be better times ahead.

Leandro Bacuna 6.5/10 – Put in a decent shift on the right flank but will need to do a lot more to silence the boo boys. May ultimately be better off at full-back if nobody is brought in to replace Hutton before the end of the summer transfer window.

Jordan Ayew 7/10 – Seemed to effortlessly skip through Wednesday’s defence at times but his end product was often found wanting. No doubt that he could dominate the Championship, though, if Villa can somehow manage to keep hold of him.

Aston Villa's Jordan Ayew shoots at goal

Ross McCormack 6.5/10 – A quiet first half but looked much more animated after the break, showing some good touches around the final third to free up space for his teammates. Could’ve opened the scoring 15 minutes from time but for an excellent last-ditch tackle from Tom Lees.

Rudy Gestede 6.5/10 – Battled away up top, winning 12 aerial duels, and nearly set up McCormack for his first Villa goal with a clever flick-on. Didn’t threaten to score much himself, though.

SUBSTITUTES

Aaron Tshibola (Gardner 70) 6.5/10 – Looked strong and confident on the ball.

Jack Grealish (McCormack 77) 6.5/10 – Gave Villa’s attack an extra dimension for the closing stages. Both he and Tshibola should be pushing to start next weekend’s home opener against Rotherham United.

Andre Green (Bacuna 86) 6/10 – Didn’t get enough time to make a real impact.

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish

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