Ignore the downplaying of our situation, now is the time to start winning football matches.
The Villa Underground called the Sheffield United goal-less draw a missed opportunity, with Wilder’s side lacklustre and barely a threat on goal. United have since gone on to lose their next two games 3-0.
Chelsea, whilst turning Manchester City over and technically superior against Villa, found themselves behind at Villa Park. However, our conservative tactics and painful lack of threat allowed Lampard’s side a straightforward route back into the game. We were sucker punched into submission with two goals in two minutes.
Last time out at Newcastle (1-1) it took us to go a goal down, courtesy of some dreadful defending, before we awoke. It took a late Elmo goal to salvage a point from what was a pretty pedestrian, predictable display. Come the end of the season, this could easily be marked down as a glaring miscalculation, with Steve Bruce’s side pedestrian for long periods, having one foot firmly on the beach.
In short, we can keep repeating the same mistakes or we can belatedly take the game to opposition sides. It will be the difference between sliding through the trapdoor to The Championship meekly or at least showing some fight in an attempt to survive.
Wolves, irrelevant of what you might think of their ownership or means of recruitment, represent a dangerous, well oiled but beatable opposition. Is this a game we are expected to win? Certainly not, but we simply just need to win it by boxing clever.
They are impressive going forward and our ability to stifle a combination of Jiminez, Neto and former Villa player Adama Traore will be crucial. It will require a discipline lacking at St James’ Park where both centre halves, Hause and Mings, were inexplicably drawn to the touchline, allowing Dwight Gayle to score.
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Much will also hinge on our full-backs. Konsa is capable at centre-back, but looks vulnerable at right back. A fit Guilbert would be preferable. Left back also remains a concern. Whilst Targett is a willing trier, erratic distribution lets him down and he continues to be targeted by opposition sides looking for success down our flanks. Wolves, though potent going forward, have only scored more than Arsenal and Sheffield United amonst the top 9 in the division.
You can of course defend admirably, but if you don’t threaten the opposition, then you’re in trouble. So toothless has our attacking display been of late, that it took the desperate realisation of our peril at Newcastle to see two recognised strikers on the pitch. Our whole shape and threat changed with Davis and Samatta as a focal point.
Wolves’ strength is perhaps less obviously at the back, conceding just 34 times this season. As means of comparison, we have shipped 59 goals already.
From our perspective, those who show their qualities sparingly need to step up. Now is not the time for El Ghazi to be anonymous. Nor can it be another game where we ponder where John McGinn’s engine has gone. Davis must be strong, but find the back of the net too. Orjan Nyland cannot afford to make a mistake. Grealish cannot be left to do it all himself.
As relegation rivals around us falter, it’s time to wake up to the fact that these are the types of games we must win in order to survive.
- 22 points seperate Villa and Wolves in the league.
- Villa have taken 2 points from their 3 games since the PL restarted.
- We are now in the bottom three on goal difference.
- Wolves could go as high as 5th (+1 place) with a win.
- Villa could leap as high as 16th with a win (+3 places).
- Wolves will be facing their 3rd consecutive game against a bottom 4 side.
- Wolves haven’t won at Villa Park since 2011.
- Wolves haven’t done the double over Villa since 1963.
- Villa Form: LLLDLD
- Wolves Form: DWWDWW
- Bjorn Engels will miss out again with an achilles problem.
- Guilbert and Drinkwater will be subject to fitness tests.
- Henri Lansbury (remember him?) – is back in contention.
- Wolves have no new injury concerns.
- Jimenez has 15 Premier League goals to his name this season.
- Villa’s strikers have 1 goal between three all term.
- Villa are now winless in seven Premier League games.
- Wolves are undefeated in their last seven outings.
- We’ve taken just 2 points from top half sides this season.
- Our defence has contributed just 1 clean sheet in the last 12 games.
Pre match quote:
I’m not a Villa fan. I’m the Villa manager at the moment. I try to lose that tag. I’m now the Villa head coach looking to win games to keep us in the Premier League. I was coming up against Nuno with Brentford in the Championship. Now, seeing what they’re doing in the Premier League is inspiring. They’ve done a fantastic job competing on all fronts, even in Europe this season. They have a realistic aim of being a top-six team now. They’ve done a fantastic job and credit must go to all of them.
Confirmed Aston Villa side to face Wolves at Villa Park:
On the bench for Villa:
Reina, Taylor, Elmohamady, McGinn, Drinkwater, Trezeguet, El Ghazi, Jota, Vassilev
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