Aston Villa player ratings gallery vs Brentford: Three score 8/10 but two 4s in 1-1 draw

Player ratings from Brentford 1-1 Aston Villa, as three score 8/10 but two get 4s.

Aston Villa’s five-game Premier League winning streak came to an end on Saturday afternoon as Brentford held the Villans to a 1-1 draw at the Gtech Community Stadium. Unai Emery’s side were fortunate to not go home on the losing end of the game as the hosts pressed effectively and were the more threatening side on the afternoon. Ivan Toney’s second half strike - his 19th league goal of the season - opened the scoring before Douglas Luiz netted a late equaliser to salvage a point.

The away side were dealt an unexpected blow for the second period when Emiliano Martinez was forced off through illness and it hindered them right until the final 10 minutes or so. Backup goalkeeper Robin Olsen looked shaky between the sticks from the off and the defensive line ahead of him appeared to lose confidence. There was a late spark of urgency, though, as Villa finally found their rhythm to get their goal.

The immediate start to the game wasn’t so poor for Villa, however, as midfielder Emi Buendia had an early opening, finding space in the middle and shooting hard and low with the outside of his right boot - but David Raya did well to make a diving save. Brentford went up the other end a minute or so later as Bryan Mbuemo flicked the ball over Alex Moreno’s head and struck on the volley, but Emi Martinez - just like Raya - was there to make an early stop.

Despite the Buendia chance, Villa looked far from themselves in the opening stages as Brentford did well to press with a high line. Attempts to play out from the back were scuppered by clever interventions from the Bees, with corners seemingly the only way of offering a threat. The home side, meanwhile, looked dangerous on the counter-attack with the likes of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo linking up the play.

Brentford had the first big chance of the game in the 36th minute as Kevin Schade dribbled down the right and picked out Toney in the area. The striker got a shot on target under pressure but Martinez showcased his remarkable reaction speed to smother the effort with a point-blank save. Then, rather out of nowhere, John McGinn had an opportunity for Villa as he cut in from the right and attempted a curler toward the top left-hand corner. The Scotsman couldn’t get his strike on target, though, as it sailed inches wide of the post.

Emery made a surprise substitution at half time as Martinez was replaced by backup goalkeeper Olsen. The Argentine had a brilliant first period but threw up in the changing room, meaning he couldn’t carry on. The change had a big impact almost immediately for Brentford as Schade ran onto a lofted through ball and sent a fairly weak header in the direction of Olsen. The Swede should’ve caught it comfortably but instead fumbled it, allowing Schade to run onto the rebound. Rather remarkably, however, the German completely miscued his shot and missed an open net, sparing Olsen a huge error to goal.

It wasn’t long until the hosts had a 1-0 lead, though, as top scorer Toney netted with a sublime finish at the far post. Found by Mbuemo with a delightful deep cross, the Englishman fired first-time and gave Olsen no chance. Emery made a triple change in reaction but his switches didn’t have the desired impact as Villa looked short of ideas going forward. Ollie Watkins was isolated up top, while Buendia and John McGinn were closed down quickly whenever they received the ball.

This was, until, the last quarter of an hour as the away side finally applied some pressure and equalised with their first clear-cut opportunity of the game. Douglas Luiz, who had been rather quiet beforehand, was there to pounce on a loose ball in the penalty area and swept it home, sending the travelling support wild. From that point on it was all Villa but they couldn’t find a winner. Although not the strongest performance by any means, Emery’s men got stuck in when it mattered and didn’t give up – something that was key to claiming a point. With all of that in mind, here are our player ratings.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.