Aston Villa’s start to the season got even worse as they were beaten 2-1 by Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday evening. This defeat means that they are second from bottom in the table with just 1 point from a possible 9.
Villa got off to a brighter start and should have taken the lead in the 5th minute when Andre Green was clean through on goal, but his shot was weak and straight at the Reading keeper.
Reading started to enjoy more of the possession, but it wasn’t until the 20th minute that they had their first proper attempt on goal. Reading nearly took the lead in the 35th minute, but Popa’s fierce strike was met by a great save from Johnstone.
Minutes later, Villa felt they should have had a penalty when Green was taken down in the box, but referee Kevin Friend, to the bemusement of the Villa players and fans, awarded a free kick to the home side.
Reading pushed for the opener, but they couldn’t take advantage of all their possession, and the teams went in all square at the break.
The second-half started off how the first-half ended, and Reading fortuitously took the lead when an innocuous cross ricocheted off of Whelan and looped over Johnstone. Minutes later, things got worse for Villa when a corner straight out the training ground caught Villa off gaurd, and Barrow was able to swipe home from a few yards out.
This 2 goal deficit seemed to wake Villa out of a slumber, and they started trying to play a bit more. Villa got a goal back in the 87th minute when Hourihane rifled a shot home from inside the box, but they didn’t have enough time left to grab an equaliser.
Here are our Villa ratings for today’s game, and they do not make for pretty reading:
Sub: Gabby Agbonlahor - 2.5
Came on for Hogan in the 30th minute, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that Villa played with a man short for an hour. Offered nothing. A rating of 2.5 might be too generous.
ST: Scott Hogan - 2.5
Only lasted 30 minutes, and didn’t do anything of note while he was on the field.
LM: Birkir Bjarnason - 3
Looked out of his depth to be honest, and just ran around like a headless chicken. Lost the ball nearly every time he got it. Made himself a decent chance to get a goal back for Villa, but put the ball over the bar.
CM: Conor Hourihane - 5
Finally got his chance to show Bruce what he is capable of, and he managed to get a late consolation goal. However, apart from this goal, he was pretty anonymous for most of the match. Was marked in for a rating of 3 before he scored.
CM: Glenn Whelan - 2.5
We’re only 3 games into the season, and Whelan already looks fatigued. At times today he was running around as if he was dragging a caravan behind him. Jedinak can’t return quick enough.
CM: Josh Onomah - 6
It wasn’t difficult if we’re being honest, but Onomah was Villa’s best midfielder tonight. He held the ball up well, and tried to get Villa going forward, but his teammates let him down.
RM: Andre Green - 3
Had a perfect opportunity to score with 5 minutes on the clock, but his weak effort failed to make Mannone work. Swung in a few decent crosses throughout the rest of the match, but that was about it.
LB: Neil Taylor - 4
Probably Villa’s best defender (just), but after this team performance, that isn’t exactly high praise. He defended manfully down the left, but was also caught out of position on a few occasions.
CB: James Chester - 3.5
Was a rock for Villa at the back last season, but he has struggled in the first three league games this campaign. This is yet another performance he will want to forget about quickly.
CB: John Terry - 3.5
Wasn’t able to marshal his defence, and they were all over the place at times. Especially for Reading’s second goal. With a long season ahead, he might start wishing that he retired.
RB: Ritchie De Laet - 3.5
Hasn’t played for ages, so perhaps we can forgive him for the poor performance that he put in during the first hour. He definitely won’t be happy with how he played though.
GK: Sam Johnstone - 6
Made a couple of fine saves, and could do nothing to prevent the goals that went in.