Aston Villa played hosts to Middlesbrough at Villa Park looking to get a result which would help them qualify into the final of the Championship playoff. The Villans went into this clash with a 1-0 aggregate advantage over their Teeside counterparts from the first-leg. They began the match on the backfoot and let the away team have most of the possession in the first half. However, Steve Bruce’s men defended valiantly to go into the half-time break with a 0-0 scoreline.
The home side were much more adventurous in the second half and managed to create a lot of chances. However, the Villa attackers were denied by the Boro keeper time and time again. Bruce’s team managed to hold on some stern Boro pressure in the final quarter of the game to clinch a 0-0 draw on the night and a 1-0 aggregate victory in the tie to progress into the Championship playoff final.
Let’s take a look at how each Aston Villa player fared during the contest against the Boro.
GK: Sam Johnstone – 7/10
The Villa goalie had a good game in goal for the home side. He distributed the ball well and made a few smart saves to earn a clean sheet on the night.
RB: James Bree – 6/10
The right-back tried his best to make an impact in the opposition half but failed to put in a decisive cross. However, he managed to cope with Stewart Downing’s threat and secured a clean sheet for his team.
CB: James Chester – 7.5/10
He was a rock at the back for the Villans and made some crucial clearances to keep the Boro attack at bay.
CB: John Terry – 8/10
The veteran defender rolled back the years and defended valiantly to help Villa progress into the final of the Championship playoff.
LB: Alan Hutton – 7.5/10
He neutralised the threat of Adama Traore and was an outlet for his teammates down the left flank.
CDM: Mile Jedinak – 8/10
Another strong display by the Villa defensive midfielder, Jedinak put in a magnificent display in midfield to help protect his back four and earn a clean sheet.
RM: Robert Snodgrass – 6/10
The left-footed playmaker tried his best to be a creative force but largely had a forgetful game.
CM: Conor Hourihane – 7/10
He tried his luck from distance on quite a few occasions and made some late runs into the Boro box.
CM: Jack Grealish – 8.5/10
The Villa youngster retained the ball well and had a flawless game at the centre of the park. He was head and shoulders above everyone else in the midfield and was unlucky not to score with his long-range curled effort.
LM: Albert Adomah – 8/10
The Aston Villa speedster put in a hard-working shift down the left wing and his lung-bursting runs helped his team move up the pitch and stop Middlesbrough from gathering any momentum.
ST: Lewis Grabban – 5/10
The Villa centre-forward squandered some wonderful opportunities in the second-half which kept the contest on a knife edge.
ST: Jonathan Kodja – 6/10
He came off the bench to provide some fresh legs up top.
CDM: Birkir Bjarnason – N/A
He came on in injury-time to ‘run the clock’ down.
CM: Glenn Whelan – N/A
Whelan hardly had any time to make an impact in the contest.