Two weeks down, two defeats. It has hardly been an explosive start. We have faced two good teams, but we should be competing with them.
There are big problems for Steve Bruce and his coaching staff to fix, starting with the defence. To be beaten by two goals in successive games is a worry.
Below we rate the performances of each player:
Freddie Woodman – 5.5 – It was a decent showing from the young keeper. The two goals were difficult to prevent. We need to stop conceding penalties, as it is giving him a near impossible job. Unlike others, he looks capable of coming off his line well to sweep up behind the defence, which is a positive.
Jacob Murphy – 4 – The wing back offered an outlet going forward, but his delivery wasn’t very good this afternoon. At the back, he continues to look like a weak link, although his recovery pace was on show on a couple of occasions.
Fabian Schar – 4.5 – It was good to see him back in the team. Schar displayed his passing range on a couple of occasions, but our defence was weak on set pieces. All three take the blame for that.
Jamaal Lascelles – 4 – The captain was recalled and it was good to see him. However, he conceded the throw in for the first goal under little pressure. He should have been more composed as we were nearing half time. The penalty award was a touch unfair, but he should know the danger of leaving his arms out in the box.
Federico Fernandez – 4.5 – Bruce decided to play him on the left, which was a change in role. It wasn’t a good performance though, with set pieces causing us issues.
Matt Ritchie – 5 – It was a better performance from Ritchie. He looked more aware of his defensive duties and he wasn’t a liability. That said, he is still a bit one paced and there will be calls for Jamal Lewis to be recalled.
Isaac Hayden – 5.5 – Unfortunately, he picked up an injury. Our issues in central midfield are growing. He was okay during his time on the pitch, without standing out.
Joe Willock – 6 – Our new £25m man was one of our better performers on the day. He tried to drive forward at every opportunity and he did add energy in the central areas. Played one great ball across the box but there was no one there to convert.
Miguel Almiron – 5 – It was another energetic display and he did cause problems with some of his movement. However, his team mates failed to take advantage of his movement. A change of position might be needed to get the best from him.
Allan Saint-Maximin – 4.5 – Last week, he was excellent. This week, he failed to get into the game. His decision making was poor when he did get into forward positions. An afternoon to forget.
Callum Wilson – 5 – It was an off day for the striker, but he was still our biggest threat. His movement caused issues and he did threaten the Aston Villa defence. He missed a huge chance early on. One that he should have taken.
Sean Longstaff – 6 – He was tidy in possession and added some forward thrust into the team. If Shelvey isn’t fit, he needs to play in that role.
Joelinton and Ryan Fraser – N/A – Nether player had a chance to impact the game, although the latter should’ve done better with a late chance scooped over the bar.