Aston Villa player ratings: Two players show promise despite loss to Olympiacos

Aston Villa v Olympiacos FC: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24
Aston Villa v Olympiacos FC: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Aston Villa's UEFA Europa Conference League campaign encountered a significant hurdle as they suffered a 4-2 home defeat against Olympiacos in the semi-final first leg.

The match at Villa Park was a rollercoaster of emotions for the hosts, who found themselves struggling to match the intensity and quality of their Greek opponents. This setback leaves Villa with a mountain to climb in the return leg, as they look to salvage their hopes of reaching the final.

Aston Villa player ratings vs Olympiacos

Robin Olsen (5/10): Deputising for the suspended Emiliano Martinez, Olsen had a night to forget, mirroring the defensive frailties that plagued Villa throughout the match.

Matty Cash (5.5/10): While Cash provided some attacking impetus down the right flank, he struggled to maintain defensive stability, epitomising Villa's overall defensive woes.

Ezri Konsa (5/10): Konsa, as part of a disjointed Villa backline, endured a challenging evening, with his misfortune compounded by a deflection that led to Olympiacos' fourth goal.

Clement Lenglet (5/10): Despite his efforts to organise the defence, Lenglet found himself overwhelmed by the relentless Olympiacos attack, highlighting the vulnerabilities in Villa's defensive setup.

Lucas Digne (5.5/10): Digne fared slightly better in his offensive contributions but was unable to provide the necessary defensive solidity, mirroring the struggles of his fellow defenders.

Douglas Luiz (4/10): Luiz had a forgettable outing, failing to stamp his authority in midfield by giving away a penalty and also missing a vital penalty, encapsulating a disappointing night for the Brazilian midfielder.

John McGinn (5.5/10): McGinn's impact was limited, particularly in the first half, and despite showing some improvement, he was unable to exert his usual influence in the middle of the park.

Moussa Diaby (7/10): Diaby emerged as a rare bright spot for Villa, finding the back of the net and providing a much-needed spark to their attacking endeavours.

Leon Bailey (6/10): While Bailey was involved in some of Villa's offensive moves, he lacked the clinical edge to make a telling difference in the final third.

Morgan Rogers (6/10): Rogers displayed glimpses of his potential and youthful exuberance, but ultimately could not provide the game-changing moment Villa desperately needed.

Ollie Watkins (6.5/10): Watkins' goal served as a reminder of his value to the team's attacking efforts, but he often found himself isolated upfront.

Match summary

Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v Olympiacos FC: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

The first leg served as a harsh reality check for Aston Villa, exposing areas that require urgent attention if they are to progress further in European competitions.

The defensive unit, in particular, struggled to cope with the intensity and movement of the Olympiacos attack, conceding goals that left Villa facing an uphill battle.

In midfield, the absence of a dominant figure allowed Olympiacos to control the tempo of the game, while in attack, despite moments of individual brilliance, Villa lacked the cohesion and cutting edge to consistently trouble the opposition's defence.

Looking ahead to the second leg in Greece, Aston Villa faces a daunting task to overturn the two-goal deficit. However, the tie is not beyond reach, and Villa's performance in the return fixture will be pivotal in determining their European destiny.

The first leg served as a stark reminder of the challenges that come with competing on the European stage, but it also presents an opportunity for growth and redemption.

Villa's response in the second leg will be closely watched by fans and pundits alike, as they aim to keep their European aspirations alive and kicking.