Oh, what an absolute stinker.
Just when you think (after 8 unbeaten & 4 straight wins) that a corner may have been turned, a very, very poor performance rears it’s head.
Out-played, out-competed and a completely deserved 2-0 defeat at the Molineux.
Whilst this brings rightful close scrutiny back upon a great many at the club, it’s also important to keep perspective. This is one game.
However, it was a big game, a game which many, including this blog, considered a good barometer for how Villa’s fortune’s might turn out this season.
On this showing, Wolves look an organised, dangerous side.
Villa, well, failed to produce the goods against a team whom now must be considered the primary contenders and competition at the top of the table.
After recent good form, this was a mixed night for the United loanee. Johnstone dealt with a fierce, swerving drive in the first half, could do nothing for a thunderous strike for Wolves’ opener but was beaten at his near post for the hosts’ second. Distribution remains erratic.
It made for uncomfortable viewing as Elmo really struggled to contain Wolves’ width and pace at fullback. Arguably brought in for his offensive play, much is left wanting when his defensive duties are scrutinised. Run ragged all evening & largely a horror show.
The former Captain, booed for his West Brom connection, really struggled with Wolves’ movement. Like the rest of the defence, was afforded little protection from centre midfield and was often found chasing shadows as the opposition played through us at will. Still, fully committed and a constant trier, but that counts for little if you’re regularly looking to desperately recover.
A vocal figure at the heart of defence, who regularly had to go long to try and find an out ball. Struggled, as to be expected, with the pace and movement of Wolves’ counter-attacking play. Could do little about the mess in front of him in midfield and attack.
Derided by many before kick off, Hutton’s effort stood out amongst a lethargic showing from his team-mates. After leaving his mark early on with a poorly timed challenge, he redeemed himself with a superb tackle with Wolves bearing down on goal. A top, top sliding challenge. The second half was a similar story, despite Villa’s lack of fire, he produced a second notable stop of the game. Positionally questionable at times, but by no means the worst offender over the 90 minutes.
Booked for an early hopeless challenge, meaning he couldn’t put a foot wrong for the remainder of the game. Struggled to have any impact or effect upon the fixture, with the only moment of note a deft freekick onto the Wolves cross-bar at 2-0.
Ineffective, off the pace and another worrying error strewn performance. Whelan came with good pedigree from the Premier League and a longstanding international reputation. However, showings like this leave the door wide open for justifiable criticism. Little or no help to Hourihane & the glaring reason Wolves totally controlled the midfield. Needs to improve urgently.
Too deep and impacted far too infrequently across the 90 minutes. Hourihane has bags of talent, but has struggled to build a consistent run of games where his contribution is noteworthy. This stands as another game where large chunks passed him by, particularly as the strikers begged for service in any form. Another who picked up a booking and looked conscious of this thereafter as Wolves dominated the middle of the pitch.
Tried to run the line and channels but to little effect and suffered [in my view] for Kodjia’s lack of movement or influence on the game. Tired visibly and was rightly withdrawn for Onomah. Adomah has produced goals and assists since his arrival, but it was interesting to see the alternative approach on display in the Wolves ranks.
A performance that was as luckless as it was listless. These are obviously the types of games where Kodjia’s spark needs to shine, but he looked completely out of sorts. Whilst closely marked, Kodjia was also starved of any meaningful service. An instantly forgettable appearance off the back of a equally low-key showing against Bolton. A worryingly ineffective performance.
Came on around the 80 minute mark; the youngster injected more direct drive into Villa than much that had gone before. Whilst certainly too little, too late, reasonable questions must be asked as to why his creativity and flair weren’t considered much earlier – or – why more senior colleagues in the team couldn’t replicate this themselves. One for the future, maybe, but must also be picked when the opportunity presents.
Held up play well, despite plenty of bullying and attention from Wolves. Another mature performance, especially given that Kodjia provided little in the way of “partnership” for him. After a long run of games, where he has been key, and clearly carrying an injury, it’s a worry if he should be unavailable for any length of time. A hard working, if ultimately fruitless evening’s work.
Subbed on with over 20 minutes remaining, there is an increasing bemusement as to what the former Brentford man brings to the Villa side. The goals and runs which he made as a trademark are absent and this latest cameo bordered upon the anonymous. All will want Hogan to do well, he’s shown glimmers afterall, but with our aspirations, and the fee expended, we need to see more…quickly.