Aston Villa and the steam running out

Villa lose to Wolves and Dave Woodhall is wondering again.

Very often, when you look at the fixed odds coupon you see a team that’s at a particularly attractive price. When it’s the Villa you’re usually left remembering that you never see a poor bookie. When it’s the opposition, you realise that anyone can make a mistake. Seeing Wolves at 2/1 before the game was one such time, so good job nobody would think of such a morally bankrupt move.

Douglas Luiz was finally dropped for Morgan Sanson, Danny Ings was missing apparently because his wife gave birth earlier and Leon Bailey came into the side, which gave two arrivals with plenty to prove. And Villa started the game well, but without much threat of any end product.

When that happens you know what’s coming next and it wasn’t long before a slip by Ezri Konsa led to the first Wolves goal.

Things got worse when Lucas Digne went off injured to be replaced by Ashley Young, whose first significant contribution was an own goal to put Wolves two up. To be fair to Young, it was a perfectly-placed header, except for one slight problem.

After perhaps the worst forty-five minutes he’s seen since taking the job Steven Gerrard could have changed the team round at half-time but instead gave the players who had got into this mess the chance to get out of it.

They didn’t, or were unable to, take the opportunity and as the second half wore on Wolves continued to be on top. Eventually first Luiz then Emiliano Buendia made belated entrances, replacing Sanson and Philippe Coutinho respectively.

At last Villa started to look threatening, and Ollie Watkins should have done better with a chance provided by Young before making some sort of amends from a late penalty.

But, predictably, that wasn’t enough and Villa failed to look remotely capable of an equaliser. Wolves managed to kill the game off in stoppage time and we let them. That, in a nutshell, has been Villa’s problem all season. We find it difficult to break down well-organised sides and seem to have a lack of self-belief that manifests itself at the first setback.

Wolves weren’t great, neither did they have to be. Keep doing the basics and eventually Villa will make a fatal mistake. Stay organised and we will almost never find a way to break through your defence. Once again the team’s problems started in midfield and spread in all directions.

To go over old ground, Villa are a mid-table club with a lot of mid-table players and we can’t keep looking back and saying that’s fine because it’s better than we’ve been for years. It was once said that there’s a good living to be made at Villa provided the team never look like getting relegated and a few players seem to have re-found that attitude.

And going over old ground again, without getting overly pessimistic,
there’s going to have to be a big clearout during the summer if we’re going to climb out of the rut we currently find ourselves in.