In their first game back in front of fans in the Premier League, Aston Villa turned up to Spurs on Wednesday night and spoiled the party, winning 2-1.
Dean Smith’s side fell behind to a fine strike from Steven Bergwijn, but managed to turns things around later in the first-half thanks to an own goal from Sergio Reguilon and a coolly taken finish from Ollie Watkins.
And while Villa managed to seal all three points and make the trip back up to the Midlands a good one, one man who was arguably the biggest disappointment for the side, was Anwar El Ghazi.
The Dutchman once again started on the left despite the return of Jack Grealish, with the club captain being deployed in the number ten role instead.
That was a major show of faith in the winger, but he failed to capitalise, and he was the big let-down for Smith even in an impressive victory away from home at one of the Premier League’s big six.
As per Sofascore, he finished with a 6.5 match rating, which was the lowest of any Villa player, and when you look at his underlying numbers it’s no surprise to see why.
He lost a whopping 13 duels on the night, which was by far the most of any player, and lost possession 16 times too, again the most – El Ghazi was just too easily outmuscled by the Spurs back-line or just pressured into making mistakes whenever Japhet Tanganga in particular looked to step in front of him and be proactive in his defending.
He also failed to complete any dribbles, and committed three fouls too as his frustrations got the better of him.
And, writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece gave him a 6.5, saying: “Started on his favoured left with Grealish inside and El Ghazi, Targett and Villa’s captain worked well together. El Ghazi should have notched his 10th of the season but, somehow, he got his feet in a muddle as he miss-hit Grealish’s ball into him.
“El Ghazi should have done better when he latched onto McGinn’s ball over the top but took too much time which allowed Alderweireld to clear. A bit quiet but he kept Tottenham thinking.”
The Dutchman just didn’t cover himself in glory, and Smith would not have been happy with his display at all.