Aston Villa’s disappointing week continued on Sunday as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against a resurgent Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
Kieran Trippier’s 35th-minute free kick ultimately won it for the Magpies, with the visitors’ relief short-lived after VAR had overturned an initial penalty decision, adjudging that Joe Willock had actually been fouled outside the box.
Steven Gerrard’s side now have just one win in six league games since Christmas, the momentum of the manager’s first few games towards the end of 2021 having dissipated.
Unsurprisingly given the result, some Villa players were well below their best today. We’ve crunched the numbers from statistical experts Sofascore to assess who were the three most disappointing players for the visitors to Tyneside – only those who featured for at least 45 minutes are eligible for classification.
Lucas Digne (6.5)
Carney Chukuemeka and Ollie Watkins were the joint-third lowest-rated Villa players alongside Digne, but the Frenchman was the only one of that trio to be given the full match to prove himself to Gerrard.
Often such a threat from full-back, the 28-year-old offered little in that regard this afternoon. Only one of his nine crosses picked out a team-mate, while he failed to complete a successful dribble or long pass. Indeed, he lost possession a whopping 26 times, by a distance the most of anyone involved at St James’ Park.
Digne was also found defensively wanting, losing six of his eight duels and being dribbled past on one occasion.
Douglas Luiz (6.4)
Normally one of Villa’s most reliable operators, the Brazil midfielder was the joint-lowest rated player of anyone in today’s match on Tyneside.
The 23-year-old lost the ball 14 times and failed to record an accurate cross or long ball, but it was the defensive aspect of his game which was most disappointing.
He was dribbled past three times by Newcastle players and lost eight out of his 12 duels, which suggests that he was surprisingly lightweight against relegation-threatened opposition.
Emiliano Martinez (6.4)
The Argentine is a virtual ever-present in Villa’s line-up but today was not one of his better outings during the 2021/22 season.
Of Gerrard’s starting XI, only Ollie Watkins completed fewer than the goalkeeper’s 15 passes, with his distribution far from razor-sharp, losing possession seven times and finding a team-mate with only two of his nine long balls.
The 29-year-old made one save but that couldn’t prevent him from getting the joint-lowest overall rating on his team on a below-par day for him and his club.
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