Aston Villa, Steve Bruce lose again, upended by Brentford on Boxing Day

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Steve Bruce manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa at St Andrews on October 29, 2017 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Steve Bruce manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa at St Andrews on October 29, 2017 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) /

On Boxing Day, Aston Villa fell a full three points out of the playoff top-six zone. The Claret and Blue gifted The Bees both tallies at Griffin Park in a 2-1 loss, giving more credence to the club’s recklessness in possession.

For the second time in four days, Aston Villa self-imploded once again, conceding two goals through their own actions.

Steve Bruce will hear it all undoubtedly, but this was an UGLY loss away to Brentford. Aston Villa looked utterly lost in both halves, totaling 0.19 xG in the first-half and nothing of note in the second until Keinan Davis went close in extra time. The Bees scored through Romaine Sawyers during the 22nd-minute; in which, Glenn Whelan turned the ball over just outside Villa’s eighteen yard box.

Fair play to Villa, however, as Josh Onomah equalized on a header in the 30th-minute, assisted by none other than Scott Hogan.

In typical Aston Villa fashion, Onomah ran into James Chester on a Brentford corner, leaving Lasse Vibe an open shot in the box – Brentford’s winning goal in the 52nd-minute. Attacking substitutes Keinan Davis and Ahmed Elmohamady could not find the equalizer.

5.0. As always, didn’t have many saves to make, but Johnstone did come up with a crucial diving push in the first fifteen minutes. Powerless to prevent Villa’s bungled, conceded opener from Brentford’s Romaine Sawyers, but missed a routine cross right before the break. Two sub-par performances in a row from Sam Johnstone.. GK. Aston Villa. SAM JOHNSTONE

ALAN HUTTON. 3.5. Under 70% passing at the break and some rather awful defending in the first-half. Drew a yellow card on Yoann Barbet, though. Curious Hutton reclaimed his fullback spot after a decent performance from Ahmed Elmohamady against Blades. Moreover, Ritchie De Laet was the first substitute used in that match, too. Awful second-half.. RB. Aston Villa

5.5. Very good, very composed from Steve Bruce outcast, Tommy Elphick before the break. Completed over 90% of his passes in the first-half. Booked around the 68-minute mark for a pullback on Lasse Vibe that could have seen red on another day. Taken off for Ahmed Elmohamady in the 84th-minute. For hardly playing the past twelve months, not bad all things considered.. RCB. Aston Villa. TOMMY ELPHICK

5.5. Solid performance from Aston Villa captain, James Chester. Not at fault on Brentford’s opener, but struggled a bit in the air, though. Josh Onomah ran into him – in which Lasse Vibe scored The Bees’ second.. LCB. Aston Villa. JAMES CHESTER

Aston Villa. NEIL TAYLOR. 5.0. Defended decently and got in good forward positions, but nothing of note in terms of end product from the Wales international.. LB

CDM. Aston Villa. MILE JEDINAK. 6.0. Dominant in the air, per usual, with some crucial blocks in the Aston Villa eighteen yard box. I would like to see Jedinak paired with a more creative central midfielder like Conor Hourihane or last year’s partner, Henri Lansbury.

3.5. In the match aggregate, Glenn Whelan was fine. Certainly not good, but fine. The problem is, however, his turnover led directly to Brentford’s opening goal – the second time in three matches Whelan has thrown a goal to the opposition. Nearly caused another one minute after halftime. Did not create anything offensively from central midfield.. CM. Aston Villa. GLENN WHELAN

I don’t know where his set piece specialty went in recent weeks (Sheffield United assist aside), but Snodgrass kicked another two free kicks directly into Brentford’s wall. Nothing else of note offensively.. RM. Aston Villa. ROBERT SNODGRASS. 5.0

6.0. One of the few above-average players on the day. Watching Jack Grealish glide past defenders, drawing fouls in the process, is fun to watch.. CAM. Aston Villa. JACK GREALISH

Passing was terrible, but he did score Villa’s only goal. Won five aerial duels after struggling in that category in the #10 role for weeks.. LM. Aston Villa. JOSH ONOMAH. 5.5

Aston Villa. SCOTT HOGAN. 5.5. Finally gifted a chance by Steve Bruce and Scott Hogan produced a mixed-bag of results. Assisted Onomah’s goal with a delightful ball. He even played fairly well through the air for not being a target forward. Still hasn’t scored in league play and his dribbling left a lot to be desired.. CF

All data provided by WhoScored match center.

Aston Villa go again on Saturday, a crucial home fixture against Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough.