Full Time: Aston Villa 3-2 Wigan Athletic
Birkir Bjarnason came up with an added-time winner to give Aston Villa a vital 3-2 win over Wigan Athletic.
Skipper James Chester gave Villa an early lead, which was cancelled out in the 41st minute by Nick Powell. Calum Connolly gave Wigan the lead after the break as he glanced towards the net past new Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland.
After the second, Wigan grew into the game and started dominating the play and it genuinely looked like there was no way back for the Villans. However, a touch of fortune brought the hosts back into the game when a John McGinn corner was turned into his own net by Chey Dunkley.
With five minutes remaining, the game seemed destined for a 2-2 draw until Birkir Bjarnason found the end of a Conor Hourihane cross to win the game at the death and send Villa Park into raptures.
Aston Villa player ratings
Orjan Nyland – 6/10
A nervy debut for Nyland, who was left exposed by Jedinak’s poor back pass when Powell equalised. Gathered and distributed the ball well. However, he couldn’t have done any better for the second goal.
Axel Tuanzebe – 6/10
Tuanzebe looked solid at right-back, using his strength to win back possession a number of times.
James Chester – 7/10
Scored a fantastic header to open the scoring for Villa. Defended very well and deserved to end the game on the winning side.
Mile Jedinak – 4/10
Jedinak’s misplaced pass was punished severely by Powell, who ran through unchallenged and tapped the ball into an empty net. He wasn’t at his best as his passing was inaccurate.
Alan Hutton – 6/10
Hutton spent most of the time in the opposition’s half, as his marauding runs down the left caused all sorts of problems to the Wigan defence. However, he lost Connolly at the back post when the Latics took the lead in the second half.
John McGinn – 8/10
A fantastic debut for the young midfielder. McGinn showed great energy by chasing down lost causes and cutting Wigan’s supply from the midfield. Delivered an inch-perfect cross from a free-kick to set up Chester’s opener.
Birkir Bjarnason – 6/10
Bjarnason sat deeper and shielded the Villa backline. He did okay before popping up at the back post to slide home the winner!
Andre Green – 6/10
Showed signs of promise with his movement and skills. However, Green needs to take up the mantle and start delivering this season.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6/10
Worked ever so hard and showed great energy to track down the Wigan players.
Jack Grealish – 7/10
Villa’s most gifted player, Grealish was excellent throughout the game. He carried the ball forward intelligently, used his creativity and worked really hard for his team.
Jonathan Kodjia – 6/10
Kodjia succeeded in giving Wigan’s two powerful central defenders a tough time. He was a thorn for the opposition but Kodjia needs to learn the art of releasing the ball quickly.
Albert Adomah – 6/10
Coming on for Tuanzebe after the 60th minute, Adomah tried to bring more pace and dynamism to Villa’s play.
Read more: Steve Bruce’s decision to sign this 6ft 1in defender on loan is a commendable job – agreed?
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy – 5/10
Came in for Green and instantly threatened the Wigan backline. Was eager to impress his manager.
Conor Hourihane – 5/10
Hourihane came onto the pitch with just five minutes remaining and produced an inch-perfect cross for Bjarnason’s winning goal.