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- Sun, 05 Jul 2020 17:45:53 +0000: Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa: Premier League – as it happened - Aston Villa | The Guardian
Sadio Mane and Curtis Jones scored in the last 20 minutes as the champions extended their run of home Premier League victories to 24 games
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That’s Liverpool’s 24th consecutive home victory in the Premier League. Is that even legal?
Peep peep! Liverpool move to 89 points with victory over Aston Villa. They were sluggish for an hour but upped their game after a triple substitution and eventually broke down a diligent Villa defence. Sadio Mane belted the first of the bar, and the young substitute Curtis Jones sealed victory with a couple of minutes remaining.
90+3 min Neco Williams replaces Andy Robertson for the champions.
90+1 min Alisson makes an outstanding save, showing superb reflexes to dive low to his left and push Grealish’s shot round the post. He is formidably good.
90 min Five minutes of added time.
It was a good team goal. Robertson floated a cross beyond the far post, Salah cushioned a header back towards Jones, and he adjusted his feet smartly to hit a shot that deflected off Mings and into the net.
Curtis Jones wraps up victory for Liverpool!
88 min Villa are running out of time. Defeats are not ideal when you’re trying to avoid relegation but they will surely take a fair bit of confidence from this performance. Their next two games - at home to Manchester United and Crystal Palace - are huge. They have to win at least one of those, especially with Watford likely to beat Norwich in the week.
87 min “Completely agree,” says Ronan Fitzgerald. “He’s incredible on the ball. Maybe just his style is so effortless and nobody gets near him so people don’t notice. Brilliant finisher too. And incredibly consistent.”
Superb in the really big games, too.
86 min Jones blasts over the bar from long range.
85 min Villa bring on Indiana Vassilev for Trezeguet.
85 min “Alright Rob, tin hat time,” says Digvijay Yadav. “Stam or Van Dijk?”
That’s a delightful bit of mischief. They are so similar: intimidating strength and speed, oodles of self-confidence and quite brilliant one on one. Probably van Dijk by a nose, simply because of his impact on the rest of the defence. Stam had less midfield protection, van Dijk got more goals. Can you imagine them together.
84 min Curtis Jones replaces Naby Keita for Liverpool.
79 min Tyrone Mings is struggling after landing awkwardly. He limps to the sidelines for more treatment and then comes back on. Villa really don’t want to lose him for the rest of the season.
77 min “Mane!!” says Matt Dony. “Never in doubt, Rob. It’s what champions do. (As well as being tonked 4-0 by your closest rivals, obviously.)”
There’s a rich tradition of new champions behing hammered in meaningless games. But I doubt any team will do it with as much style as Bayern Munich in 1974: “We arrived fairly drunk and lost 5-0.”
76 min Reina makes a fine save, flying to his left to beat away Firmino’s curling shot. It came after a quick one-two with Salah on the edge of the box. Liverpool are playing some terrific stuff now.
76 min Sadio Mane is a glorious footballer. He’s the best attacking player in the best team in the world, yet it still feels like he’s underrated.
74 min A double change for Villa: Ally Samatta and Jota replace El Ghazi and Davis.
73 min Salah appeals unsuccessfully for a penalty after being touched on the shoulder by Hause.
Alexander-Arnold plays an excellent pass into Keita on the edge of the box. He slides an imaginative angled pass across the area to Mane, who hammers it in off the bar from 10 yards. That goal has been coming ever since Jurgen Klopp made those substitutions on the hour.
68 min Time for the drinks break. A draw wouldn’t lift Villa out of the relegation places, but it would be a helluva result. The last time Liverpool failed to win at home in the league was January 2019.
65 min Another corner to Liverpool, which Reina punches clear. A storm is coming, Frank says.
64 min Villa break four on three, with Grealish on the ball. He moves smoothly past Henderson and hammers a shot from 20 yards that hits van Dijk.
62 min It might be a trick of the mind but it already feels, only a couple of minutes after those substitutions, like the real Liverpool are back. The pace has definitely increased.
61 min “Liverpool have yet to score a goal as champions,” says Justin Kavanagh. “Clearly they are not up to the pressure on this rarefied perch. KLOPP OUT!”
That is patently ridiculous: nobody in their right mind would claim Liverpool are back on their perch after one league title.
60 min Jurgen Klopp has seen enough. He makes three changes, bringing on Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho and Origi.
59 min Origi plays in the underlapping Robertson, whose superb low cross is put behind by Taylor.
58 min van Dijk plays a dreadful pass, straight to Douglas Luiz, but redeems his error with a good tackle on El Ghazi in the area.
56 min Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dangerous cross is well claimed by Reina.
55 min “Happy Sunday Rob,” says Peter Oh. “A decade ago I used to hope for and celebrate Pepe Reina clean sheets. But today I’d like to see him on his back a few times as the ball settles into his net. Heck, get a beach ball on the pitch if that’s what it takes. It is summer after all.”
That’s a great idea. They should exorcise all the ghosts of 1990-2020 - the slip, the PlayStation years, the beach ball, the Istvan Kozma - in one celebratory afternoon.
53 min The resulting corner is headed back across goal by Mings and bounces up kindly for Origi to clear. That could have gone anywhere.
52 min: Chance for Villa! Grealish leads a four-on-two break, waits for the right moment and plays in El Ghazi to his right. He slashes a low shot to the near post that is palmed behind by the diving Alisson.
51 min Grealish’s fierce shot is beaten away by Alisson, though he had been flagged offside.
50 min Liverpool look a bit busier than they did in the first half. Alexander-Arnold sprays a majestic pass to Origi on the left, but he runs into traffic and eventually Keita wafts a cross out of play. Origi and Mane have swapped positions.
48 min A terrific, trademark cross from Alexander-Arnold is missed by Salah and bounces across the face of goal.
47 min As a former Premier League champion I can assure you it is very difficult to retain the same intensity once you have won the title. And if you don’t believe me, look at this example of Liverpool in 1982-83. I’m not saying they eschewed sobriety for a month, I’m not saying that at all.
46 min Peep peep! Villa begin the second half, and lump the ball straight out of play.
Some half-time reading
After watching such a listless first-half performance, on the back of a heavy defeat at Manchester City, it is surely time to ask the most difficult of questions: has Jurgen Klopp taken Liverpool as far as he can?
Peep peep! The good news for Villa is that they are deservedly level at Anfield. The bad news is that there is approximately 0.02 per cent chance of Liverpool playing as poorly in the second half.
45+2 min Keita did brush Douglas Luiz’s heel, but I don’t think it was strong enough to knock him over. It was a delayed fall as well. But Douglas Luiz was convinced it was a penalty.
45+1 min Three added minutes. Villa appeal for a penalty when Douglas Luiz goes over under a challenge from Keita, I think. VAR decides there was nothing in it.
45 min It’s been a dreadful half, in terms of entertainment, but that suits Villa just fine.
44 min Grealish will continue, at least until half-time.
41 min Grealish is struggling again with his right ankle.
40 min Another good low cross, this time from Trezeguet, is claimed by Alisson.
39 min Grealish teases Alexander-Arnold and puts in a terrific cross that is headed behind by Robertson at the far post.
37 min Salah has Liverpool’s first shot, a volley from a narrow angle that Reina saves comfortably to his left.
36 min McGinn is booked for flattening Oxlade-Chamberlain.
36 min “Sure looks like Reds are super motivated to go for points record,” says George Meikle. “Or maybe not at all.”
I think they are, and I’m certain Klopp is. But the subconscious mind is a funny old game.
35 min A good break down the right from Trezeguet, whose cross is just too deep for El Ghazi.
33 min Douglas Luiz cracks a bouncing ball straight at Alisson from the edge of the area. Villa, almost unbelievably, will be starting to fancy their chances today.
30 min The corner did hit Konsa on the hand after he missed a stooping header, but I wouldn’t say his arm was in an unnatural position.
28 min Salah wins a corner for Liverpool. There’s an appeal for handball when Alexander-Arnold’s outswinger drops onto the body of a Villa defender. We haven’t seen a replay and play has continued.
27 min Dean Smith will be thrilled with how the match has gone so far. Despite all Liverpool’s posession, Pepe Reina hasn’t had a save to make.
23 min The drinks break presents Jurgen Klopp with the opportunity to tell his team what they’re doing wrong.
21 min Grealish’s free-kick is headed over by Konsa near the penalty spot. It was a half chance at best.
20 min Robertson is booked for a foul on Douglas Luiz. Liverpool are well off the pace - or, at least, well off their pace.
16 min It looks like Grealish is okay. It’s not a great match at the moment, with Liverpool not at their sharpest.
13 min Grealish is going to try to run it off.
12 min Grealish is being treated for a problem with his right ankle. This is a worry for Villa, though he doesn’t look in too much pain.
10 min Liverpool keep the ball for 90 seconds or so before Oxlade-Chamberlain overhits a pass to Alexander-Arnold.
7 min It’s been a fairly low-key start, with Villa seeing plenty of the ball.
4 min Salah goes down in the area after a slightly clumsy challenge from Douglas Luiz. Paul Tierney waves play on and there’s no suggestion that VAR is going to get involved.
2 min Villa win an early corner down the left. Douglas Luiz works a short one with McGinn and dumps a cross into the middle that is cleared by Oxlade-Chamberlain.
1 min Peep peep! Liverpool kick off from right to left.
Villa’s players have formed a guard of honour for the Liverpool players. No sign of Bernardo Silva though.
“The end-of-season medals were interesting in the pre-internet era,” says Phil Podolsky. “You suddenly saw some guys you had no idea were part of the team. Just as you had to wait for the first games of the season to learn about all the new players signed during the summer. Good times.”
You mean there was a world before the International Champions Cup?
Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Villa Park in November, when they were a goal down with four minutes remaining, was one of the most important of the season. Had they lost that day they would have been only three points clear of the champions Manchester City. Eight days later, after routing City at Anfield, they were nine clear.
Godspeed, Villa department Liverpool have won their last 23 Premier League games at Anfield, an English top-flighr record. And in the last two league seasons, their record at home is P35 W33 D2 L0 F99 A22.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Origi, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Williams, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Jones, Elliott, Firmino, Minamino, Shaqiri.
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1) Reina; Konsa, Hause, Mings, Taylor; McGinn, Douglas Luiz; El Ghazi, Grealish, Trezeguet; Davis.
Substitutes: Nyland, Guilbert, El Mohamady, Lansbury, Nakamba, Hourihane, Jota, Vassilev, Samatta.
Hello. We’re all friends here, so let us speak frankly. This is not the triumphant homecoming that Liverpool envisaged as they rampaged towards their first title in 30 years. But the first game at Anfield since Liverpool were confirmed as champions is still an opportune moment to celebrate an immortal group of players who have climbed Everest in record time. The pubs are open, Britain is Great again; what else are we going to do?
Liverpool would have been of a mind to put on a show even before their 4-0 defeat at Manchester City on Thursday. Now they will want to make Villa - and City - pay for that mild embarrassment. If Liverpool win five of their last six games, they will break City’s records for the most points (100) and wins (32) in an English top-flight season. One thing’s for sure: I wouldn’t fancy being an Aston Villa defender for the next few hours.Continue reading...
- Sun, 05 Jul 2020 17:44:46 +0000: Sadio Mané gets Liverpool back on track against wasteful Aston Villa - Aston Villa | The Guardian
The headline figures will come as no surprise. Liverpool maintained their 100% home record in the Premier League at the expense of a relegation-threatened team that have not kept a clean sheet on the road all season. Scratch below, however, and this was a precious opportunity lost for Aston Villa.
Jürgen Klopp’s new Premier League champions were in procession mode once again, not to the extent of Thursday’s drubbing at Manchester City but enough to encourage any ruthless and solid team seeking a desperately needed point or three. Villa did not have it in them to capitalise.Continue reading...
- Sat, 27 Jun 2020 18:46:23 +0000: Aston Villa manager Dean Smith laments fixture congestion after Wolves defeat – video - Aston Villa | The Guardian
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith blamed fatigue for his team's 1-0 loss to Wolves at Villa Park.
'I think the biggest winner today was fatigue,' he said. 'It is not a spectacle at the moment anyway without supporters there and even less so when you are asked to play the amount of games we are playing in so many days.'
Villa are yet to win since the Premier League restarted and currently sit 19th in the league.Continue reading...
- Sat, 27 Jun 2020 13:50:27 +0000: Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves: Premier League –as it happened - Aston Villa | The Guardian
Leander Dendoncker scored the goal that keeps Wolves in the hunt for a Champions League place and leaves Villa deep in the relegation mire
Paul Doyle went to Villa Park, slathered his extremities with sanitiser and and covered his beard with a face-mask to bring you this report on a very entertaining game of football. Read on ...
Nuno speaks: “I think we performed well in terms of organisation in terms of approaching the game,” he tells BT Sport. “But we didn’t quite settle down very well. Then we started controlling better and creating chances. They’re a good team with very talented players. Today was about controlling the game, because Villa had four midfielders. We had to try to open them up and get possession in wide areas. I’m very happy with Leander because he’s a very hard worker.”
Leander Dendoncker speaks: “Very good,” he tells BT Sport. “I just think we played a good game again today. We controlled the game but the last 10 minutes was quite hard because they were losing and trying very hard to score. We kept it tight and didn’t give away a lot. We’ve done that for the past three games which is the merit of the whole team. It’s very nice.”
On Adama Traore’s contribution off the bench: “I think everyone knows he can do that, even from the middle of the pitch,” he says. “I got a good assist from Jonny and I just shot.”
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeep! Leander Dendoncker’s second-half strike wins the points for Wolves, who win their third game in a row to go within two points of Chelsea. For Villa, it’s a nightmare scenario – they remain in 19th place with games against Liverpool and Manchester United looming large. They played reasonably well today but look completely toothless up front.
90+4 min: Now Traore concedes another free-kick, with a little kick at Mings deep in the Villa half. Moments later he commits another foul, giving Villa a free-kick just inside their own half. Nyland’s delivery towards the Wolves penalty area is atrocious.
90+3 min: Traore loses the ball to Douglas Luiz, allowing Villa to break up the pitch. They lose position again, when Luiz commits a foul.
90+2 min: We’re two minutes into five of added time. Wolves have the ball and are not inclined to give it away. They’re spraying passes around between themselves, leaving Villa’s exhausted, dispirited players chasing shadows.
90 min: Into the final minute of normal time we go, with Villa still in need of an equaliser. Wolves win a free-kick wide on the left for a foul on Neto by Kortney Hause. They play the ball all the way back to their own goalkeepe in the interests of running down the clock.
89 min: Villa keep plugging away but Jonny puts the ball out of play for a throw-in as Grealish attempts to skip past him. He’s had a very quiet second half, has young Jack.
88 min: Traore appears to amble jauntily down the right touchline, but still leaves Taylor and El Ghazi in his dust. His cross is poor, however. Villa clear their lines.
86 min: Mings tries to play a low ball to the feet of Samatta on the edge of the Wolves penalty area. It’s blocked.
85 min: Wolves substitution: Raul Jiminez, provider of the assist for Leander Dendoncker’s goal, makes way for Pedro Neto.
84 min: Jack Grealish sends a wonderful cross towards the far post from the touchline. It drops between Trezeguet and Samatta, neither of whom can quite reach it, before bouncing out of play.
82 min: Villa win a free-kick about 35 yards from the Wolves goal. McGinn floats the ball towards the far post, where Trezeguet, who has just come on, pokes it wide. Villa double-substitution: Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet on for Keinan Davis and Marvelous Nakamba.
79 min: Villa trail but are far from out of this game although another Wolves goal would finish them off. The visitors go forward down the right, trying to get Traore on the ball. With three players surrounding him, he picks out Dendoncker in the penalty area. His shot is blocked by Tyrone Mings.
Villa are terrified of Traore and with good reason. He’s a terrific player whose game has improved immeaurably in the past 12 months. He’s so much more thoughtful and intelligent now, where once he resembled an out-of-control driverless speedboat.
77 min: Mbwana Samatta heads the ball high over the Wolves goal from about 12 yards out, leaping under pressure to connect with a cross from the right.
76 min: Good tackle by Leander Dendoncker just inside his own penalty area. He sticks out a leg with perfect timing to block the ball and stop Grealish making one of his shimmying runs towards goal.
74 min: Villa win a free-kick wide on the left. The ball’s floated towards the far post, where Kortney Hause heads it high and wide. The delivery was a mite too high for him and he might have been better served trying to nod it across the face of goal.
74 min: With his back to goal, Grealish flicks the ball in the air after receiving a low pass form Taylor. It sits up beautifully for him and he spins to shoot on the turn. His effort from the edge of the penalty area is blocked.
72 min: Jack Grealish loses the ball in the centre-circle, Ruben Neves committing the mugging but selling Traore short with a poor pass.
71 min: Villa play the ball long down the left channel, where Willy Boly leaps to head the ball out for a throw-in.
69 min: Traore wins a free-kick in the centre-circle after being fouled by Douglas Luiz as he tried to dart away from the Villa man.
69 min: There’s another break for drinks and managerial counsel.
67 min: The ball’s sent into the mixer, where it hits Willy Boly’s knee and bounces into the path of Leander Dendoncker. He’s somewhat caught by surprise and tries to bundle the ball home at the far post, only to put it wide. It wasn’t an easy chance but it was a chance nonetheless.
66 min: Traore gets the ball on the right touchline, accelerates past Makamba with alarming ease and gets to the byline. Under pressure from Neil Taylor, he looks up and forces a corner.
64 min: Traore makes an immediate impact, playing his part in a lightning fast Wolves counter-attack. He picked up the ball from Jonny in midfield, before playing it wide to Jiminez, whose cross into the box was delightful. He picked out Jonny with his back to goal, who teed it up for Dendoncker. He still had plenty of work to do to make room for a shot and pull the trigger. That’s a fine goal and Villa find themselves in all sorts of bother.
Jimenez takes a ball from Traore on the left wing and curls an exquisite pass into the area, Within seconds it’s nestling in the bottom corner after Dendoncker, teed up by Jonny, made room for a shot and slotted home with a low drive.
60 min: Villa double-substitution: Ahmed “Elmo” Elmohamady and John McGinn on for Conor Hourihane and Ezri Konsa. Wolves substitution: Adama Traore on for Diogo Jota.
59 min: Aston Villa break on the counter, with Douglas Luiz spreading the ball right and wide to Jack Grealish. His progress is interrupted and Wolves manage to get their shape back.
57 min: Tyrone Mings attracts the attention of his Villa team-mate Neil Taylor and points to the touchline, where Adama Traore is preparing to come on. #prayforneil
56 min: Conor Hourihane curls a cross into the Wolves penalty area from the right wing. It’s too close to Rui Patricio and the goalkeeper gathers comfortably.
54 min: Samatta goes to ground on the edge of the Wolves penalty area, left side. There’s a VAR check to see if he was shoved by – I think – Willy Boly who was marking him tightly but no free-kick or penalty is forthcoming.
52 min: Grealish crosses the ball to the far post, where alongside the upright, Mbwana Samatta hooks it up in the air to prevent it going out of play. Wolves clear.
50 min: Raul Jiminez tries to play Leander Dendoncker in behind down the inside right flank, but Kortney Hause is quickly across to wallop the ball into the stand.
49 min: Willy Boly handles the ball, giving Villa a free-kick about 40 yards from his own goal. Hourihane sends the ball towards the far post, aiming for Mings. Rui Patricio darts off his line to bat the ball clear. It’s not a particularly clean contact but it’ll do. Good goalkeeping.
47 min: Moutinho curls a dangerous ball into the Villa penalty area. Neil Taylor, mindful that Raul Jimenez might be lurking behind him, shapes to head the ball out for a corner but pulls away at the last minute under loud instructions from his goalkeeper. Jiminez isn’t there and the ball sails wide.
46 min: Play resumes, with Wolves kicking off. There don’t appear to be any changes of personnel on either side.
The players go in for the break, with Wolves having enjoyed the past 20 minutes of superiority. Diogo Jota missed the pick of their opportunities, sparing Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland’s blushes after he had accidentally dropped the ball at his feet on the edge of the penalty area.
45+4 min: Dioga Jota gets in behind the Villa defence, performing miracles to keep the ball in play on the byline. He is unable to keep himself in play, however, falling over before he can get a cross in.
45+2 min: We’re halfway through added time at the end of the first half and the deadlock remains unbroken. It’s been an entertaining first half, despite the paucity of chances and goals. Villa dominated the opening 25 minutes, but have been largely on the back foot since the drinks break. A half of two quarters, if you will.
45 min: Villa win a free-kick wide on the left. Grealish and Hourihane try to play a two-v-one down the left rather than put it in the box. Hilarity ensues and they somehow manage to concede a throw-in. That’s poor - Villa are wasting an awful lot of opportunities to put dangerous balls into the Wolves box from set-pieces.
44 min: Jonny does brilliantly to block a Conor Hourihane curled effort that was heading goalwards.
41 min: Oh my! Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland shapes to throw the ball out and the ball slips out of his glove and lands three or four yards away at the feet of Jota. With all the time in the world to pick his spot and place the ball in the corner, he decides to smash the ball and sends it wide. That is a serious let-off for Villa.
40 min: Jiminez drags a low shot wide of the Villa goal after being teed up when Wolves had switched play from the left to the right wing. Wolves are dominating now after a poor opening 25 minutes and it looks like a matter of when, rather than if they will score. Remember, they still have Adama Traore on the bench, who will no doubt be introduced after an hour or so once Villa’s defence has been softened up and tired out.
39 min: Jonny crosses from the left, aiming for Jiminez but the delivery is too high. Doherty picks up the ball on the right, crosses the ball into the centre and Villa clear with Keinan Davis on the ball.
38 min: Moutinho spreads it left and wide to Jonny on the left flank and he plays a one-two with Diogo Jota trying to make room for a cross. Villa clear, for the time being.
37 min: Jack Grealish gets on the ball, cuts inside from the left and shoots through a thicket of legs from the edge of the Wolves penalty area. Rui Patricio gets down quickly to save.
35 min: Romain Saiss goes to ground holding his ankle after being fouled by Keinan Davis, who was attempting to block the Wolves man’s clearance.
34 min: Neil Taylor concedes a corner, defending well as Dendoncker tried to run on to a Conor Coady pass in a good shooting position in the Villa penalty area. Moutinho sends the ball into the mixer, where Tyrone Mings clears with a meaty header.
32 min: Free-kick for Villa, wide on the left from deep. The ball is floated towards the left side of the penalty area, where Kortney Hause is penalised for a foul on Matt Doherty. Villa have had several free-kicks in such areas and have wasted them with poor deliveries.
29 min: Jonny attempts to corss from the left corner flag towards Jota in the Villa penalty area. Konsa blocks his delivery. Wolves have looked considerably more sprightly since the refreshment break. I’ll have a pint of whatever they were drinking.
28 min: There’s another break in play as Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba receives treatment for an injury. It looks like he’s hurt his shoulder after a collision but he seems fine.
26 min: With Dendoncker and Jota waiting in the middle, Raul Jiminez gets a wonderful cross in from the right touchline. It looks on a plate for Jota to poke it home at the far post, but he can’t connect with the ball.
25 min: The players pause for drinks and some sideline coaching from their respective managers. Villa’s Dean Smith will be much happier than his opposite number.
25 min: Matt Doherty beats Taylor down the right and shoots from a ridiculously tight angle when there were options available to him in the penalty area. Wide.
24 min: Grealish and Konsa combine well down the right creating an overlap. The full-back sends a cross towards Douglas Costa in the penalty area, but his delivery is overhit.
22 min: Keinan Davis heads high over the bar under pressure from Conor Coady after getting on the end of a whipped cross from the right. Villa are having the better of the game so far but Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio has yet to be tested.
21 min: Under pressure from Moutinho, Hause plays the ball back to his goalkeeper. Some good, enthusiastic pressing there from old man Moutinho at the ripe old age of 33.
18 min: Moutinho takes the free-kick, chipping the ball towards the near post, where Raul Jiminez had made a darting run. The Wolves striker gets his head to the ball but Orjan Nyland clutches to his chest at the second attempt.
17 min: VIlla boss Dean Smith will be pleased with what he’s seen thus far, although losing Matt Targett and seeing Davis feeling a tender shoulder will be a source of concern. Mings gets booked for a foul on Diogo Jota that gives Wolves a free-kick just to the right of the Villa penalty area.
16 min: Tyrone Mings lumps the ball long for Keinan Davis to chase. The 22-year-old Villa striker appears to be nursing a shoulder injury after landing awkwardly while contesting a high ball.
13 min: Villa continue to dominate, with Grealish winning his side a corner after sprinting around Matt Doherty and into Leander Dendoncker on the byline. Hourihane sends the corner deep and Kortney Hause wins the header for Villa. There’s nobody on hand to turn his knockdown goalwards.
12 min: Another free-kick for Villa in a dangerous area after Moutinho has a little kick at Davis. Grealish slightly overhits his curled delivery towards Tyrone Mings at the far post and the ball sails out of play.
11 min: Aston Villa substitution: Matt Targett raises the white flag and is forced off with his dicky hamstring. He’s replaced by Neil Taylor, in a like-for-like swap.
10 min: “They’ve been playing since July, it’s been a long season for them,” says BT Sport co-commentator Glenn Hoddle, who appears to forgotten they’re just back from a three-month break.
8 min: Jack Grealish wins a free-kick for Villa halfway inside the Wolves half after being kicked by Jonny. From the set piece, the ball is curled into the penalty area, but Wolves clear.
7 min: Still clutching his left thigh, Matt Targett decides to soldier on for the time being. Play resumes.
5 min: There’s a break in play as Matt Targett receives treatment after appearing to damage his hamstring while playing a pass.
4 min: A foul by Jonny on Ezri Konsa yields a free-kick for Villa. They attempt to build from the back and get the ball forward, but Mbwana Samatta is not quick enough to cross the ball into Keinan Davis before it runs out of play for a goal kick.
3 min: Villa win a throw-in just inside their own half and Jack Grealish gets on the ball, all the better to show off his new haircut. He’s pressured by Joao Moutinho and Villa win themselves another throw-in.
1 min: There are early throw-ins for both teams before Wolves go on the attack. Matt Doherty gets the ball on the right flank but is closed down by Matt Targett. He plays the ball backwards and Wolves try their luck down the other flank. Villa clear.
1 min: Villa get the ball rolling a moment after the players of both teams take the knee to raise awareness of togetherness and anti-racism.
Not long now: Wolves are first out on to the pitch, arriving in small groups as the heavy summer shower is replaced by bright sunshine. They’re followed by the players of Villa, who seem in no particular rush to join them. They better hurry up - kick-off is just a few minutes away.
Weather report: It is tipping down with rain at Villa Park.
An email: “For all the plaudits that Nuno rightly gets for the attacking threat of his team, he did study at the feet of Mourinho and that does come out in his selection and tactics from time to time,” writes Phil Russell. “He is quite happy to ration the entertainment factor and neutralise large periods of the game in the service of a result. Most obviously seen in the turgid games v Man United but also during Thursday nights in the Europa League. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this 0-0 at the hour mark before Nuno tips the bench on to force the win.”
Nuno Espirito Santo: “I think we’ve been working well but today we have a very tough challenge in front of us,” the Wolves manager tells BT Sport. “We have to focus. Defence is the beginning of everything, we need to be compact and organised. We expect a very tough challenge and a very tough match.”
On his decision to leave out Adama Traore and bolster his midfield with Leander Dendoncker, he says “it’s all about managing the squad and knowing that different games require a different approach”.
Dean Smith: “The players are holding up, no thanks to the fixtures,” Aston Villa’s manager tells BT Sport. “Four games in 11 days, it’s been tough. I think it’s strange that we’re playing today instead of tomorrow. In terms of performances I think we’ve been playing well and I think we haven’t got the wins that our performances deserve.”
Dean Smith has made three changes to the side that drew with Newcastle on Wednesday, bringing in Conor Hourihane, Marvelous Nakamba and Keinan Davis. John McGinn, Anwar Al Ghazi and Trezeguet make way.
Aston Villa: Nyland, Konsa, Hause, Mings, Targett, Nakamba, Hourihane, Luiz, Grealish, Samatta, Davis.
Subs: Reina, Taylor, Drinkwater, McGinn, Trezeguet, El Ghazi, Jota, Elmohamady, Vassilev
The Wolves manager says he is unconcerned by speculation suggesting big name stars such as Adama Traore, Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez could leave the club if they don’t qualify for the Champions League.
“We see the next three games as opportunities,” said Villa’s manager as he looked forward to tough assignments against Wolves, Liverpool and Manchester United.. “We did OK against Chelsea in my opinion. I know other opinions are different, but we restricted a team like that to a few good chances which is all they had in the game, which is very good.
Referee: Craig Pawson
Looking for their third consecutive win since coming out of the mid-season hiatus, Wolves have a fully fit squad to choose from, although Nuno Espirito Santo may shuffle his pack to get some fresh legs on the pitch. Nuno has hinted that Pedro Neto may start after impressing off the bench in Wolves’ last two outings.
The title race may be over but there’s plenty at stake for both these sides as Aston Villa entertain Wolves in a West Midlands derby behind the closed doors of Villa Park. Despite the lack of atmosphere, there ought to be no end of spice as Villa continue their battle against the drop and Wolves maintain their push for a place in the Champions League.
Second from bottom on 27 points, Villa can lift themselves out of the relegation zone with a draw or win, while a point or more will take Wolves above Manchester United into fifth place behind Chelsea. Kick-off is at 12.30pm (BST) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.Continue reading...
- Sat, 27 Jun 2020 13:40:52 +0000: Aston Villa survival hopes dented by Dendoncker's winner for Wolves - Aston Villa | The Guardian
These Wolves belong in high-class company. They climbed to fifth thanks to Leander Dendoncker’s crisply struck goal, closing to within four points of Chelsea in the chase for Champions League qualification. Aston Villa, meanwhile, remain in deep peril in 19th position having played a game more than their rivals.
Dean Smith said Villa’s lack of sharpness was partly down to fatigue. “We are the only team to have played four games in 11 days [since the restart]. Why this match wasn’t played on Sunday or Monday I don’t know. It’s ridiculous to ask players to play so many games in a short period.”Continue reading...
Historical Transfer News and Team Gossip has been archived below:
- Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:01:06 +0000: Villa wait on Terry contract offer - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Aston Villa | BBC
Aston Villa do not expect immediate progress in their bid to sign John Terry after making him a lucrative contract offer.
- Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:00:34 +0000: Championship fixtures in full - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Aston Villa | BBC
Find out your team's fixtures in the Championship during the 2017-18 season.
- Fri, 16 Jun 2017 13:19:02 +0000: Sunderland to play Bury in EFL Cup - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Aston Villa | BBC
Sunderland will travel to Bury in the EFL Cup first round following their relegation from the Premier League.
- Fri, 02 Jun 2017 11:26:51 +0000: Villa chief executive Wyness suspended - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Aston Villa | BBC
Aston Villa chief executive Keith Wyness is suspended from football activity for three weeks for social media misconduct.
- Thu, 18 May 2017 12:51:32 +0000: CEO Wyness dismisses Villa budget fears - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Aston Villa | BBC
Aston Villa chief executive Keith Wyness is confident of signing transfer targets within manager Steve Bruce's budget.
Aston Villa are now looking to strengthen their squad for the up coming season with a large number of new players touted to be on the clubs radar in the closed season. The club has been boosted lately by the resigning of goalkeeper Brad Guzan who left the club at the end of last season. The American keeper has now penned a new lucrative three year deal which will keep him at Villa park until the end of the 2015 season.
Another huge target for the club this season is Blackburns Steven N`Zonzi who is also a top target for Sunderland, Tottenham and Stoke City with the midfielder stating that he has no intention of playing football in the championship. The Frenchman is thought to be available for a fee of around five million pounds and would welcome the chance to play in the English top flight again.
Blackpool winger Matt Phillips is also believed to be on the clubs radar as the championship side looked doomed to lose their influential winger as a host of top flight clubs are now vying for his signature. The twenty one year old has had a brilliant season for his club and now looks set to move to the premier league with clubs such as Everton, Wigan, Reading and Sunderland all in for the winger.
Sheffield United defender Matt Lowton is another target for the Villa Park outfit as Paul Lambert looks to strengthen his back line for the new season and the player is thought to be his top target for his defence. Lowton is now regarded as one of the hottest prospects in English football but Villa will need to fight off stern interest from additional clubs such as feyenoord and Bersiktas.