Review & Ratings: Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa – Villa underperform as the injuries bite.

Villa never, ever, got going in this fixture.

Whilst injuries to Grealish, Heaton and Engels certainly didn’t help, the regular faces, and those deputising, never looked like troubling Wolves for vast swathes of a dissapointing clash.

Villa laboured, anonymous in the first half and barely mustering a reply in the second.

Wolves were in truth, annoying comfortable in their victory.

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Indeed, this was the second anti-climatic meeting of the season.

The first being the non-event Carabao Cup game versus a Wolves side without collective ownership of a razor.

This time round though, featured a Villa side that had left it’s competitive edge at The Etihad and Villa Park following defeats to City and Liverpool respectively.

These performances heartened us going into an important games against local opposition; it was to be a good opportunity to gauge our fortunes this term.

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Wolves were up for it.  Villa were flaccid.

We certainly lacked dynamism.  This was a game that arguably needed the ponderous runs and ghosting movement of a Jack Grealish.  His now lingering absence is increasingly cause for concern.

Konsa debuted in the Premier League and impressed, but the calm and assured Engels alongside Mings was a miss.

Out-wide and on the flanks we lacked presence.  With little cover offered by El Ghazi and Trezeguet, Matt Targett (replaced by Taylor) and Frederic Guilbert were repeatedly over-run.

McGinn too had an off day when we could least afford it.  The Scottish international struggled to make his normal impact within a midfield that routinely found itself passed by.  Nakamba spent the day largely chasing shadows.  Douglas Luiz; he simply forgot how to pass a football to a team-mate.

Up-front raised more questions than answers about Wesley.

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The Brazilian, called up to the national team, perhaps underlining the regard he’s held in, struggled once more to impose himself.

For all of the physical size Wesley rarely competed, contributed nor impacted the game.  In truth this was a limited display for a man who was firing more goals away from home.  The highlight was a poor skied effort high over the bar in the second period.

Wolves were sharper and always threatened.

Nyland, who replaced the injured Steer, could do nothing about the two goals.

Ruben Neves was inexplicably allowed the freedom of planet earth to fire a fine effort for the opener.  The Portugeuse international showed fine technique, but permitting a man with more goals outside the box than from within it the time and space to pick his spot defies belief.

Villa huffed and puffed, permitted Adama Traore to rattle the crossbar, before Raul Jiminez, dangerous all afternoon, tucked away the match winner.  Rancid defending.

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This tells us much about Villa’s transition from promotion outsiders in the closing weeks of the last campaign, reminded us that various faces amongst the ranks are (at best) good Championship players and that some of those purchased are just the first phase of a Premier League rebuild.

As Villa go into a five important games, four of which are against the top seven, it serves also to underline the fine margins of success and failure in the top flight.

We have the international break to regroup following three straight defeats and our new focus must be upon defeating Newcastle (and Steve Bruce) at Villa Park.

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Wolves 2-1 Villa
  • Ørjan Nyland
  • Neil Taylor (Sub On)
  • Frederic Guilbert
  • Ezri Konsa
  • Tyrone Mings
  • Matt Targett (Sub Off)
  • Marvellous Nakamba
  • John McGinn
  • Douglas Luiz
  • Anwar El Ghazi
  • Wesley
  • Mahmoud Trezeguet
  • Jed Steer (Sub Off)
  • Henri Lansbury (Sub On)
2.3
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