NICK PARKES REPORTS ON WOLVES DRAW WITH ASTON VILLA
Wolves came away from our trip to Villa Park with a valuable point as we were held 1-1 to Unai Emery’s Aston Villa. A game which fitted the cliche of “tale of two halves” as Wolves ran Villa ragged in the first half, only to have Villa fight back in the second.
The opening ten minutes saw Wolves on the front foot, with lots of possession and a high press when without the ball. Attacking aggression from Semedo saw him make blistering run down his right hand side. Nathan Collins had a header cleared off the line early on. Promising signs for the boisterous and energy Wolves fans in attendance. Wolves continued to press and it all paid off in the 12th minute. A beautiful one-two, saw Moutinho give the ball back to Podence who worked his way into the right hand side of the Villa box, incredibly quick feet saw him dance past Villa’s Luis, and a curling effort past the Villa keeper into the back of the net. A wonderful piece of football capped by an excellent finish from Podence. One nil up early on and fully justified.
The first half continued in the same vein as Wolves looked very very good indeed. Defensively, Hugo Bueno made several important tackles to deny Villa’s attacking threat. Kilman with a crunching tackle showcasing the passion running through the team and even Collins late on in the half winning a sprint race to win us a goal kick to then show his emotion with a solid fist pump to the Villa faithful. Clearly showing that we are up for the fight!
For all the positivity which was on show in the first half, the only thing we lacked was that second or even third goal when we had Villa against the ropes. Great play from Nunes saw his effort saved by Martinez, and a poor pass from Podence which, if played right would have seen Costa have a glorious chance in front of goal. Cutting edge once again our achilles heel.
After a chorus of boos from the Villa fans at the end of the first half, a reaction was surely in the offing, and low and behold, Villa came out for the second 45 with a point to prove. They brought on a more creative midfielder and it allowed them to push forward more. In the first half Wolves switched the play nicely numerous times which caught Villa out of position, a trait which Villa copied in the second half. We struggled down our right with Semedo and Adama (half time sub) giving Villa’s left sided players too much room. As seen in previous games, Lopetigui is not afraid to ring the changes. Podence who scored that sublime goal in the first half was subbed for Adama, 60 minutes saw the introduction of Hodge and Ait-Nouri and after 65 minutes new signing Cuhna made his Wolves debut.
With the Villa fans rallying their team, Wolves struggled to maintain the pressure and intensity of the first half. We struggled to pick out passes and also found it harder to win the ball back. Only a brilliant goal line clearance from Kilman on 75 minutes denied Villa an equaliser after they worked it well down out right hand side but Kilman, in the right place at the right time was able to get his head to the ball to put it behind for a corner. The high fives and pats on the back were short lived however, as a long ball from Villa’s defence caught our centre back’s out which allowed Danny Ings to run through one on one, Sa slipped a little which allowed Ings to slot the ball home to the despair of the Wolves team and fans alike. On reflection it was fair to say it was coming but frustrating the manner it happened.
Both teams still had chances to sneak a late winner as Ait-Nouri produced a moment of magic in the 90th minute as he danced around several Villa defenders but had his shot blocked (truly a goal of the season contender if he had converted it). And finally, with almost the last kick of the game, Bailey found himself in a glorious position to break Wolves hearts but he fluffed his shot to the right of Sa’s goal and with that Jarred Gillet called time on an eventful game in the midlands.
POST MATCH REACTION
A great first half performance which has given hope to a lot of Wolves fans. Great intensity and passion. High press and attacking threat. Hopefully Cunha will make a big difference up top, and with a few more positive signings we should be safe! Improvements from Moutinho who bagged another assist, Collins looking sharper and more assured, and even Nunes is looking better under Lopetegui’s reign.
Wolves Sa, Bueno (Gomez 79), Kilman, Collins, Semedo, Nunes, Neves, Moutinho (Hodge 59), Podence (Adama 46), Hwang (Ait-Nouri 59), Costa (Cunha 66)
Villa Martinez, Young (Coutinho 46), Konsa, Mings, Digne (Dendoncker 67), Cash, Kamara, Luiz (Augustinsson 67), Buendia, Bailey, Watkins (Ings 66)
ARTICLE BY NICK PARKES
Hi, I’m Nick! Born in Wolverhampton and currently living in Barcelona. I’ve been a Wolves fan since birth (dad’s choice) and was a north bank season ticket holder in my younger days. My favourite all-time player, Bully! And favourite player is Coady!
I’m an English teacher by trade and when I’m not scolding teenagers in the class, I’m either running, gardening or watching cricket!