Result & Player Ratings – Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves – Dendoncker The Difference

Nyland

Smart block on 18 minutes with Jimenez darting ahead of Taylor to head.  Another calamitous error on 41 minutes, with an attempted throw going straight to Jota.  The Wolves man fortunately blazed an effort over the bar as the Norwegian thanked his lucky stars.  A complete liability at a time we can least afford it.  Not to blame for the Wolves goal.  Dreadful free-kick at the death completely wasting any hope of a Villa conjuering a final chance.

Konsa

Delivered a good whipped cross on 21 minutes to Davis.  Clever play early in the second half to force a corner.  Complained of an ankle injury, replaced by Elmohamady on 59 minutes.

Mings

Clumsy booking inside 15 minutes, getting a deserved yellow and providing Wolves a dangerous free kick from which Jimenez almost headed home.  Important headed clearance from a well worked Wolves corner on the half hour mark.  Cut apart like the rest of the defence for Dendocker’s goal.  Key block from another Dendocker effort on 79 minutes.  Advanced forward on 85 minutes only to over-run the ball and lose possession.  Clattered late by Traore.

Hause

Won a couple of headers.  Chasing shadows like most for the Wolves goal.  Opted to attempt a header on goal rather than knocking back midway through second half.

Targett

Pulled up inside ten minutes with what looked to be a hamstring complaint.  Tried to play on but was soon withdrawn for Neil Taylor.  Clearly unlikely to be able to continue, unclear why he was allowed to try and run it off.

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Nakamba

Allowed Doherty a barely contested run on goal on 24 minutes, the Wolves man fired high into the side netting when well positioned.  Clumsy attempt at a challenge on 26 minutes allowed a dangerous cross to be flashed across Villa’s goal.  Clattered by Doherty a mere minute later.  Good tracking and harrying on 38 minutes, stopping Jimenez in his tracks.  Withdrawn on 80 minutes by Trezeguet.  Didn’t impact the game at all.

Luiz

Solid and composed first half anchored in the centre of midfield.  Good burst and run on 58 minutes to released Grealish who wasted the space and chance to deliver a ball into the box.  Good attempt at a driven effort from outside the area on the hour mark, just wide of the post.  Beaten in the middle of the park and chasing shadows as Dendoncker scored for Wolves.  Struggled with pace and movement of Traore.  A steady performance but little by way of support around him.

Grealish

Quiet but composed early in the game.  Threatened on 36 minutes with a low drive from the edge of the area.  Fed Hourihane with a smart pass, creating Villa’s best chance of the first half.  Cocked up a well placed free-kick with Hourihane on 45 minutes with the centre halves committed to the attack.  Released by Luiz mid-way through the second half, poor lofted cross lumped straight out of play.  Struggled second half.  Good attempt to fashion an effort, flicking the ball up and volleying towards goal on 73 minutes – blocked.  Looked deflated.

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Hourihane

Put a dangerous ball in on 30 mins that Coady failed to deal with, but no Villa striker could react to it.  Chance just before half-time with Grealish teeing him up inside the box, but well blocked.  Wasted a free-kick on the stroke of half-time.  Wasted a corner early in the second half, curling it high and straight out of play.  Better ball from a free-kick on 49 minutes forcing the keeper to palm away.  Inconsistent display and replaced by McGinn on 59 minutes.

Samatta

Skillfully worked a dangerous cross on 36 minutes, but barely in the game in the first half.  Failed to capitalise upon a Boly error early in the second half.  Hopeful header on 76 minutes from a McGinn cross, sailed high over the bar.  Concerning for his lack of involvement or impact across 90 minutes.

Davis

Looked uncomfortable having received a knock to the shoulder in the opening minutes.  Tried an optimistic header from a whipped Konsa cross on 21 minutes.  Not alive to Coady’s error on 30 minutes when the Wolves defender allowed an attempt at clearing a cross to run across the penalty area.  Good hold up play on 80 minutes, rewarded with a free-kick.  Replaced by El Ghazi on 80 minutes.  Tries hard, but didn’t threaten Wolves at all.

Substitutes:

Taylor

Called into action with Targett withdrawn early in the game.  Failed to read or react to Jimenez run and header at goal on 18 minutes.  A spectator once Traore came on.

McGinn

Quiet after coming on.  Dispossessed at the corner flag, meekly asking for a free-kick.  Wasted a cross when well placed on 73 minutes.  Deep crossed free-kick on 80 minutes offered little danger.  Still miles off the pace.

Elmohamady

Nothing of note.

El Ghazi

Dangerous ball put in on 83 minutes, neither Samatta nor Trezeguet could capitalise.  Naive late on when in a position to cross, delaying, inviting a tackle before giving away a free kick trying to retrieve.

Trezeguet

Zero impact for the 15 minutes he was on the pitch.

MATCH REPORT

This was a game that started in a somewhat pedestrian fashion.  Villa were resolute and tidy, but rode early warning shots from the visitors.

Taylor, on for the injured Targett, was a statue as Jimenez darted ahead of him with Nyland making a block, as means of a good example.

Doherty, who ghosted past Nakamba with ease, was next to go close as he lashed an effort into the outside netting.

Wolves began to grow into the game, dominating possession and were almost gifted a goal on the stroke of half-time.

Nyland, who is increasingly falling into the category of ‘total liability’ made another error, throwing the ball to the feet of Jota.  The Wolves man opted to go for the Hollywood finish, fortunately for us, blazing a powerful effort over the bar.

Villa did have opportunities though.  A Coady error whilst attempting to clear saw the ball squirm across the penalty area.  Davis, physical but ineffective could only watch as it rolled behind him.

Hourihane too had a chance on his favoured left foot inside the area, after being released by Grealish.  The Irishman saw his effort well blocked.

Villa were frustrating though, struggling to feed the two man attack of Samatta and Davis.  This was well illustrated by a farcical free-kick attempt by Hourihane and Grealish that saw them dispossessed on the stroke of half-time.

Villa went in at the break with the game decidedly swinging in the favour of the opposition.

We came out with no obvious heightened urgency and were punished just after the hour mark.

After a number of wasteful balls into the Wolves box and Samatta failing to capitalise on a Jony mistake, the visitors pounced.

Traore rode a Luiz challenge, before neat interplay released the ball to Dendoncker.  Villa’s defence couldn’t handle the movement and the Wolves player fired an effort low into the bottom corner.  All too easy.

Villa huffed and puffed – McGinn and Elmo appeared in favour of Konsa and Hourihane.

We continued to be wasteful.  McGinn over-hitting a cross when well placed at the edge of the area.

Grealish was quiet, appearing only to fashion a flicked / volleyed effort that was blocked.  It felt very much as our attack was contained and Wolves were quite happy to see the game out.

Villa rolled on more subs, El Ghazi and Trezeguet.  El Ghazi almost delivered immediately, with a dangerous inswinging cross unable to be capitalised upon by either Samatta nor Trezeguet.

This was a limited and frustrating display that lacked either the quality or the urgency required for a relegation fight.

Villa appeared to have no obvious game-plan, whereas Wolves would break in a purposeful, organised and threatening fashion.  Our creativity seemed to hinge on luck or an error from the opposition.

Our season won’t be measured solely against defeats to teams of Wolves’ calibre, but our survival does rest upon actually trying to win football games.  We lacked ideas, flair and ingenuity.  Despite having two strikers on the pitch, we seemed utterly incapable of servicing them, despite numerous opportunities from set-pieces.

We have now played a game more than our relegation rivals and a trip to newly crowned Champions Liverpool looms.  The reality of our predicament must surely, surely stir the players into life to at least attempt to keep Villa in the Premier League.

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  • Nyland
  • Taylor
  • Konsa
  • Mings
  • Hause
  • Hourihane
  • Grealish
  • Luiz
  • Nakamba
  • Samatta
  • Davis
2.4
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