Aston Villa recovered from weekday loss by narrowly defeating Queens Park Rangers 1-0. Jonathan Kodjia’s late strike squeezed past QPR goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
Aston Villa improved their record on the season to 7-10-5. With another three points under their belt, the claret and blue remain six points off from a top-six playoff spot.
Both sides started the first half cautiously at Loftus Road. Jonathan Kodjia’s saved penalty was the only difference (That’s five penalty saves for Smithies in seven matches).
QPR began the second half with a fervor of threatening play before Kodjia again capitalized on a turnover. The Ivorian’s strike slipped past Smithies from a tight angle.
ASTON VILLA PLAYER GRADES:
GK Mark Bunn 6
A surprise selection, and yet, a very solid and secured performance from Bunn. I still believe in Gollini’s talent, but Bunn might take the starting spot for the time being. Most notably, Bunn was dominant in the air – snatching crosses and shots alike.
RB Alan Hutton 6.5
Very impressive match from the Scotsman. Hutton was positioned really high along the right flank.
RCB James Chester 6
Solid and resolute. Copy and paste after every match.
LCB Nathan Baker 7
Welcome back! Nathan Baker has blossomed into a truly dominant Championship center back. Only constant injuries are holding him back now.
LB Jordan Amavi 6.5
Saw it on Twitter, but Amavi is arguably the best left back in the Championship. Charlie Taylor could give Amavi a run, but it’d be close.
CDM Mile Jedinak 6.5
The Australian leader shielded the back line yet again. I wonder, after McCormack and Kodjia both missed penalties this season, if Jedinak should take spot kicks. Jedinak is three-for-three on international duty in 2016. Including two in one match in Saudi Arabia.
CM Gary Gardner 5.5
Struggled in the first half and subsequently substituted in the second.
RM Albert Adomah 6
Not overly influential, but covered lots of ground on his right flank.
LM Leandro Bacuna 6
Bacuna played in a very interesting position on the pitch. Asked to tuck-in frequently to make room for a buccaneering Amavi, but still made for forays on the wing.
ST Jonathan Kodjia 7 & ClaretVillans Man of the Match
Who else? (Sorry Baker). No player consistently creates their own chances quite like Jonathan Kodjia. He’s not the same player as Christian Benteke, but he carries many of the same qualities.
ST Ross McCormack 4.5
Really struggled to get anything going. Gabby Agbonlahor took his place in the second half. The talent is there. Stay patient.
ST Gabby Agbonlahor 5.5
ST Rudy Gestede N/R
CM Ashley Westwood N/R