Aston Villa – Wolverhampton Wanderers: Comfortable Wolves Win In Quiet Clash (0-1)
Relegation threatened Aston Villa played out a stale contest hosting Champions-League-chasing Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sparse bright spots in Villa buildup play amounted to nothing while Wolves’ failures to capitalize on fortuitous opportunities went unpunished as one moment of Wolves quality decided the match in their favour.
Tactical analysis and match report by Julian Chingoma.
This was a game with massive implications for both sides, albeit for very different reasons, as the end of the season draws ever closer. The hosts, Villa, were struggling mightily and face the grim reality of relegation. They sat in nineteenth place via goal difference as there was a three-way tie on 27 points between them and the two sides directly ahead of them: Bournemouth and West Ham United. Nearby, sitting safely but perilously so, was Watford who were only one point ahead of the aforementioned three.
Villa were firmly entrenched in the heavily congested dropzone and needed to start winning games to claw themselves out. Wolves, however, were sixth on the log and well within the Champions League qualification race. Being level on points with Manchester United and just five points behind Chelsea in fourth, they too, were after all three points.
Villa manager Dean Smith lined the home side up in a 4-3-1-2 formation. Ørjan Nyland was in goal and he would be shielded by a backline of Ezri Konsa, Kortney Hause, Tyrone Mings and Matt Targett. Douglas Luiz would sit in the deepest role in midfield while Marvelous Nakamba and Conor Hourihane would operate in slightly more advanced midfield positions. Jack Grealish lined up behind the front two but had the license to roam . . .