Heurelho Gomes â€“ 6
Safe handling throughout, and exposed for the goal. Too quick at times to re-distribute the ball, when taking a little heat of the game might be more advisable.
Alan Hutton â€“ 7
Huge amount of energy up and down the right to get in a couple of shots. Never great defensively, but did well enough here.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto â€“ 7
A steady game for the left back, up against pacy opponents.
Sebastian Bassong â€“ 6
Loses a mark for dithering on the ball, allowing Heskey to out-muscle him and tee up the Villa goal. Never given an easy time by a fast and physical Villa.
Tom Huddlestone â€“ 6
Challenging afternoon and struggled at times to cope with the power of Heskey and then Carew. But stuck to the task and came through a difficult match.
Rafael van der Vaart â€“ 8
What a great buy this guy looks. Two goals to win the match â€“ lovely sleight of foot to fool Dunne for the second â€“ and terrific quality on the ball. But what has impressed me as much is his passion and drive to win. Looks a snip at Â£8 million.
Gareth Bale â€“ 7
Quiet for most of the first half, but came on strong again in an open second half. The pace, the adventure, the quality were all still there.
Jermaine Jenas â€“ 7
Buzzed around winning balls, keeping the passing simple, driving forward from the heart of midfield. A continuation of recent good form.
Luka Modric â€“ 7
Not at his creative best but a fair shift from the little guy. Seems a risk to play both he and van der Vaart along with two centre forwards, and an attack-minded Bale, but nobody can accuse Harry of conservative selection.
Roman Pavlyuchenko â€“ 6
Signs of a return to sharpness in the first half, but might have done better with two chances. Sacrificed at half time to accommodate tactical switch.
Peter Crouch â€“ 7
Worked hard and biggest contributions were headers to set up van der Vaart for both goals. Always a handful for the Villa defence.
Aaron Lennon â€“ 7
Perhaps a step back towards form. Played the second half, as van der Vaart was switched to a supporting role to Crouch. Provided the cross the led to the winning goal, and would have been through on goal but for Collinsâ€™ cynical lunge. Why no red card ref?
Wilson Palacios â€“ 6
Brought on to shore things up and protect the lead. Did nothing wrong.
Sandro â€“ 6
Last minute replacement for van der Vaart.
By Andy Knaggs
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