Three Most underrated Aston Villa Players This Season
Aston Villa have belatedly got their season going to the performance level their fans would have expected of this squad from day one and while we could simply list the underachievers in the team, we instead have to pick out the most underrated.
That’s not easy in a high-profile squad, given that they all receive both praise and consternation on a regular basis from their own fans and local media. I do think these three are perhaps performing at a higher level than the general public’s realisation:
The tackling statistics of defenders can be misleading given that they may miss as many as they win. Likewise, clearances can simply drop to you and all you need to do is put your foot through it but blocking the ball is a valuable quality given that is usually means putting your body on the line to protect your goal and your team.
Nobody in this squad, including John Terry, makes more blocks than James Chester and with that, he can hold his head up high and say he’s made a significant contribution.
It’s not as though he’s an unknown but having topped the overall Championship average performance ratings while at Barnsley, you could worry that it was either a one-off or the result of him being a good player in a bad team.
However, the 27-year-old Hourihane has continued those fine performances under the pressure of playing for a huge club and his figures of 9 goals, 2 assists, 1.6 key passes per game and a pass completion rate of 80% are no coincidence.
Hourihane looks every inch a Premier League midfielder and should get the recognition he deserves as one of Aston Villa’s most important players as they look for promotion.
Hutton’s performance has been very high this season and to be fair, it’s been recognised by Steve Bruce publicly. However, I can’t help but put forward the opinion once more that Hutton is a better right-back than Ahmed Elmohamady and should be playing there when fit.
Hutton has had to do all his work at left-back this season and has been admirable. So with more than a suspicion that Bruce has Elmohamady-shaped rose-tinted glasses on, he’s been bang unlucky not to be contributing even more in his specialist position.
Elmohamady was Bruce’s right-back at Sunderland and Hull City and so this smacks of ‘jobs for the boys’ somewhat – not that he’s a bad player of course. Hutton’s lack of a new contract at Villa, may not, in that case, be such a bad thing.