For the new season, I’m going to step back into the subjective world of player ratings. If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment or send me a tweet @hullcitylive
Allan McGregor – 8 (Man of the match)
McGregor was in goal for City competitively for the first time since the 5-1 win over Rotherham on the last day of the 2015/16 season. He made two excellent saves at the feet of Agbonlahor and Hogan in the first half. He was quick off his line and kicked well but got caught under a couple of crosses and got lucky when Green failed to find an empty net in the second half.
Ola Aina – 7
Played right back having spent most of pre-season on the left. He’s a fabulous athlete and a good size and put that to good use with some excellent defending one on one. Positionally, he’s naïve and was caught out by some balls in behind but has good recovery pace and competed well throughout. He got forward often and his pace will be very useful when City settle into a system.
Max Clark – 6
Had a torrid first half as Villa targeted him with balls out to Elmohamady. His lack of pace was exposed badly by Alan Hutton for their goal. He has a good left foot so his poor clearances and balls out of defence were disappointing. He settled into the game and engaged Elmohamady physically in the second half and was very solid. Clark was a left back at City originally but converted to central midfield in the U21s under Steve Bruce. This is the first time I’ve seen him back at LB for three years.
Michael Dawson – 6
The skipper looked very aware of the inexperience around him in the first half and was distracted by organising everyone else. McGregor saved him after a very poor pass straight to Lansbury but he recovered after that and was excellent facing set pieces and subdued their very lively strikers. Aina and Hector have size and pace and if Daws can help them improve quickly there is a really promising defensive unit in there.
Michael Hector – 6
Had a very shaky first twenty minutes, like most, summed up by a terrible backpass that gifted them a corner. Coped well with having a lot of possession in the first half and apart from the above, didn’t panic when there weren’t options on. Had a very good second half, dominating in the air and timing his interceptions in our half.
Sam Clucas – 7
Took responsibility in the first half when things weren’t going well and always looked for the ball. Effectively played on his own in midfield but made plenty of crucial tackles and interceptions. We’ve lost a lot of players this summer but holding onto Clucas is vital. His energy and willingness to do any job that need doing is desperately required and he can be really effective going forward as we’ve seen many times.
Markus Henriksen – 5
Looked completely lost in a double-pivot in midfield. He’s technically sound so produced the occasional decent touch but was ineffective defensively and a non-entity going forward. Was much more comfortable after Meyler’s introduction when he moved up behind Hernandez but still didn’t produce a lot. I’m still not sure what he’s capable of. He rarely looks like getting into a goal-scoring position, doesn’t appear to have a defence splitting pass and looks lightweight off the ball even compared to Evandro. Jury still out.
Jarrod Bowen – 7
I’m a big fan of the former Hereford man as I wrote lastsummer. He was his usual busy self throughout the game but struggled to get on the ball in areas where he could do damage. As City improved in the second half, he looked a threat cutting in from the right wing. The wingers then swapped over and he was able to ghost beautifully into space to score his first senior goal for City. There is lots more to come from him, particularly physically, but he needs to be involved in the first team squad exclusively now. He’s been more than ready for a while.
Kamil Grosicki – 6
Scrapes a six because of his assist for the goal which was a moment of quality he’s shown he’s capable of. He also broke away at pace a couple of times and had Villa on the rack. The frustration with him is in how rare that is from a player who has scorching pace and a very good right foot. Plenty of fans think he’s disinterested which is hard to disagree with from his body language but in the first half he looked exhausted. I’d still really like to keep him. Once the transfer window closes, he’ll have to get his head down and can rip the arse out of teams in the Championship. I won’t cry if he goes though, his attitude isn’t endearing him to many.
Fraizer Campbell – 6
He’s clearly short of fitness after his late start to pre-season but makes up for it with sheer desire. He’s always moving and always thinking. His lack of fitness showed though in the number of times he started in an offside position. Tried to play that new-fangled “number ten” role which isn’t ideal but going away to a top club in the division with an inexperienced squad and playing two out and out strikers would be crazy. His brilliant run from deep was crucial in creating the City equaliser. Will get better and better.
Abel Hernandez – 7
The manager said he isn’t close to 100% but he played 90 minutes again after completing several in pre-season – not bad for a player who hardly ever did that under Steve Bruce. He put in a good shift especially in the second half when he chased down defenders and the goalkeeper. Rare link-ups with Campbell were promising and he had a couple of snapshots that deserved better than to drift narrowly wide.
David Meyler – 5 (for Campbell)
I’m not sure what he was doing on the pitch after so few minutes in pre-season. Clearly very rusty and gave away free-kicks and the ball too often but was whole-hearted as usual and allowed City to settle into a solid defensive shape for the last fifteen minutes.
Ondrej Mazuch (for Henriksen)
Sent on in stoppage time to counter Villa’s desperate tactic of chuck centre half Chris samba on up front. Unfortunate in a squad with no depth to play in the only position where there is now some.
Leonid Slutsky – 8
His team earned a very good and unlikely point on his debut. Steve Bruce came out with a nonsensensical comment afterwards that Villa were all over a team who were in the Premier League last season – Slutsky had eight players in his squad who have started a Championship game before and only twelve who you’d call “senior” players. He moulded that into a reasonable looking team and made the brave decision to go with Max Clark at left back having favoured Brian Lenihan on the right for all of pre-season. His team were all over the place in defence for the first twenty minutes and lacked bravery on the ball and played without tempo for the first half. Whatever he worked on at half time was successful and they were massively improved after the break. He desperately needs options now. Not just with new players but with the likes of Evandro, Marshall and Stewart getting fit ASAP.