Birmingham Mail newspaper’s Aston Villa club reporter Ashley Preece has apologised to midfielder Marvelous Nakamba for initially giving him a lower rating in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday.

Nakamba delivered a decent performance as he provided a solid protection to the team’s backline.

But in Preece’s after-the-match player ratings, the Zimbabwean got a modest 6.5/10 when in fact was one of the outstanding players in the Villa team.

The reporter has written another piece, apologising to Nakamba for giving him a lower rating.

“I owe Nakamba a bit of an apology here for dishing out a mediocre 6.5/10 in my player ratings in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s sweet victory,” he writes.

“I was imploring the Zimbabwean to have a really good game knowing he was harshly dropped after his previous start against Newcastle. However, the midfielder started tentatively and was desperate to impress.

“What stuck out was the fact he dallied on the ball, got robbed by Thomas Partey and then fouled Saka for his yellow card. ‘Naka’ improved tenfold after that and won six tackles – more than anyone on the pitch.”

Preece believes Nakamba’s performance was better than that of Arsenal’s midfield duo of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka combined.

He adds: “Arsenal’s holding midfielders of Partey and Granit Xhaka, meanwhile, made one tackle between them. The duo only cost ¬£85 million!

“As for ¬£11 million man Nakamba, it’s now three clean sheets from his three starts this season against Burnley, Newcastle and Arsenal which just underlines his importance to Smith and Villa.

“The understated African is something different as well compared to others in the squad and was the perfect fit for Saturday’s battle with Arsenal. Well played, Naka.”