Was this another game of “what could have been”?
It could have, after-all, have been a very different outcome.
If Ollie Watkins’ early effort hadn’t rebounded off the bar and Ezri Konsa also hadn’t crashed an effort from 5 yards onto the woodwork.
Indeed, Villa’s centre-half, still only 23, had another fine opportunity to win the game deep into injury time. Having done all of the hard work managing to control the ball in the box, Konsa fired an effort just wide.
But it wasn’t to be, and although we did ride our luck on a couple of occasions, the opportunities spurned do mean this can be marked down as another one of those games you circle at the end of a campaign…
It would be remiss to overlook that if Villa had the better of the first half, then Wolves arguably had their best phases in the second.
The visitors broke with speed on more than one occasion, with the trademark sight of Adama Traore bursting forward. The midfielder, infamously with Villa as a raw youngster via Barcelona ‘B’ still looks far from the complete footballer.
Martinez still had to be sharp though, beating away a first-half effort and being alive to a second-half counter with Matt Targett forced into an unsuccessful pursuit.
Most notable was the Argentine ‘keepers quick reaction to Conor Coady finding the ball at his feet with the goal gaping. Martinez was well-positioned to deflect the England defender’s effort just wide.
For Villa there will be much to mull over.
NOT QUITE CLICKING
It’s hard to overlook the fact that our attacking threat has dissipated of late. We aren’t as clinical, nor as freeflowing as the early part of the season.
Much of this issue appears to rest with the supporting cast. Barkley is now almost unrecognisable to the player that arrived from Chelsea, to the point it’s becoming uncomfortable. Luiz too, so eye-catching early season, is visibly struggling for form and returned to the XI after a recent rest.
There are also tactical question marks, particularly given the absence of consistent performers Cash and Grealish.
Sanson’s first start saw the Frenchman busy, but without a clear role before being replaced. Traore also ghosted in and out of the game, although was maybe carrying a knock from an awkward fall. Trezeguet and McGinn were industrious but without end product.
It was another worrying demonstration of a lack of invention from midfield, with poorly executed crosses a recurring annoyance.
It was Villa’s defence that once again underlined it’s importance and value in what is a fallow period in terms of victories.
Elmohamady, guilty of a dreadful lapse of concentration in a surprise defeat at Bramall Lane, coped well. Konsa was again strong in a pairing with Mings that’s as comfortable as it is composed. Matt Targett also continues in good form, with his performances bringing attention from England boss Gareth Southgate.
Emi Martinez remains one of the buys of the transfer window, commanding and ensuring the draw didn’t instead become defeat. It marked the former Arsenal goalkeeper’s 14th clean sheet of the season.
The reality is this time last season Villa faced a very different outlook at Premier League survival increasingly hung in the balance.
The improvement, both in squad personnel, playing style and the points haul cannot be dismissed.
The Wolves draw does though feel like another of a clutch of results that lead us to wonder what the season might have been, if for a little more composure on the field and tactical finesse off it. We live and hopefully learn.
Up next is old foe Steve Bruce and one of the worst teams in the division in Newcastle United (Friday 8pm), a game that had been postponed previously due a Covid outbreak in the Geordie camp.
MATCH HIGHLIGHTSEmbed from Getty Images
Villa 0-0 Wolves
Villa and Wolves fought out a goalless draw at Villa Park – Villa twice hit the bar, with Wolves missing two golden opportunities of their own. http://gty.im/1305784734