Following a win like that it’s hard to criticise any part of the performance, so I’ll concentrate almost exclusively on the positives.
Starting from the back, Sorensen put in a good and commanding performance, despite conceding twice. It is likely that he raised his game against his former club, but hopefully this level of performance will carry on. He commanded his box well and claimed several tricky crosses and got good punches on others.
Abdoulaye Faye was very good. He won almost everything in the air, seldom making a clearing header that came up short of the half way line. He also looked good with his feet, and quite assured which is good to see in a hard-man defender. He also seems to have good pace.
I was equally, if not more impressed with Amdy Faye, he won a lot of tackles, including several real crunchers and looked reasonably good in the air and very confident in possesion. He always looked to use the ball, rather than just get rid of it, which is very nice to see, particularly alongside Olofinjana who is equally comfortable on the ball, but does sometimes dwindle on it.
Fuller also looks back to his brilliant best, following a nasty injury over the summer. That flick for his goal was simply brilliant and he finished extremely well. It’s good to see he’s not lost any of his pace either.
The one are of concern is still the left wing though. It is clear that a quick winger, capable of beating men and putting in crosses has to be brought in, with Haminu Dramani and Kanga Akale linked, improvement seems to be round the corner. Delap should not be played on the wing. His long throws are undisputedly a very effective weapon, but centre midfield is his position. However, i would not like to play him there at the cost of Amdy Faye or Olofinjana, both of whom look very good to me.
THOMAS SORENSEN 7
Had a good commanding game, despite conceding twice.
ANDY GRIFFIN 7
Griff had a surprisingly good game against the pace of Young and Agbonlahor, he didn’t appear at all out of his depth, unlike his Bolton performance.
LEON CORT 7
Leon had a solid, if not eye catching game, doing almost everything required of him well. He just let Carew get away from him for their first though and could have marked a bit tighter for their second.
ABDOULAYE FAYE 8
Awesome in the air, and not too bad on the ground either. The same as for Cort can though be said regarding their goals.
CARL DICKINSON 7
Dicko had a reasonable game, not allowing Villa’s quality wide players get the better of him. He did though lose possession cheaply a few times, and paid the price for their first goal.
LIAM LAWRENCE 8
Liam showed again that he’s the only really creative player we have, as well as being the only player than adds some width and a good crosser of the ball. He took his penalty very well, as ever, and player a number of good passes, including the one to set up Fuller’s goal.
AMDY FAYE 8
Had a very good debut. He made several very strong challenges, as well as looking good in the air. The overriding factor to his impressive performance was though his composure on the ball, which is something all fans love to see.
SEYI OLOFINJANA 7
He had a decnt game in midfield, without being spectacular, he didn’t do too much wrong, aside from lose possession cheaply one or twice and he found Lawrence well in the bulid up to Fuller’s goal.
RORY DELAP 7
Without the weapon of his throw-ins, I would not like to see him starting for Stoke anything like as often as he does. However, he does have this weapon and used it well, though the left wing clearly isn’t his best position.
DAVE KITSON 6
Had quite a dull game. He made a few good creative passes, but on the whole was a bit quiet. He did track back wel to help out in midfield when we were under pressure though.
RICARDO FULLER 7
There’s no doubt that he took his goal brilliantly, and produced a fantastic bit of skill to engineer the chance, but aside from that he wasn’t hugely effective. He struggled to beat men as easily as he usually does, and missed one reasonably simple chance in the first half when Friedel was caught in no man’s land. He also dwelled on the ball far too long at times, trying to gain an easier chance when an early shot or a pass out wide would have been a better option.
SALIF DIAO 6
In his 20 minutes he did little particularly important or useful but little wrong either.
MAMADY SIDIBE 7
He succeeded in causing havoc in the villa defence and did get his (rather fortunate) goal.
RICHARD CRESSWELL 6
Didn’t have much time to impress, playing just over five minutes, but seemed as keen as ever to chase everything for the cause.
TEAM RATING 7.07
MY MAN OF THE MATCH: AMDY FAYE