Aston Villa has now lost 23 points from losing positions this season after QPR took a point from Dean Smith’s men in a 2-2 draw at Villa Park. Tammy Abraham’s 15th and 16th goals of the season weren’t enough to claim what would have been only a second win in six games.
In the week Smith chose to recall Jed Steer and Tommy Elphick from their loan spells. The two started in a much-changed backline with James Bree replacing Ahmed Elmohamady at right back. Birkir Bjarnason got the not ahead of Glenn Whelan. While Albert Adomah took Yanick Bolasie’s place on the wing.
Final third quality
With alterations at the top of the pitch, the quality in the final third was still obvious. The first chance of the game fell to the in-form Abraham. With 15 minutes on the clock, Toni Leistner failed to deal with Adomah’s through pass. The ball made its way towards Abraham but the German was able to recover well. QPR’s captain battled his way back at the Chelsea loanee to force him wide of Joe Lumley’s goal, reducing the angle he had to work with.
Whilst the hosts failed to put their stamp on proceedings, QPR seemed vulnerable with the attacking threat Villa posed. It was John McGinn who then came closest to breaking the deadlock, striking the crossbar with a powerful half-volley 12 yards from goal.
Though, only minutes later, McGinn produced an excellent delivery to provide Abraham with his fifth goal in his last 5 appearances. The forward peeled off Leistner to meet McGinn’s cross from the right flank.
A theme of a disappointing first half of the campaign. Losing leads and shipping far too many goals was once again demonstrated. Josh Scowen got on the ball in the middle of the park. A 20-yard pass from Conor Hourihane’s former teammate on the right flank set Darlon Furlong free on the wing, but his cross towards Luke Freeman was overhit, complicating the finish eight yards from goal.
Although, QPR’s star man made no mistake with his next opportunity. After little pressure was applied from Villa’s tired midfield. Freeman drove towards goal before unleashing an unstoppable strike at Jed Steer’s goal.
Conceding before the interval was a blow to an Aston Villa side who found themselves in an all too familiar position. Though, matters where made worse as Eberechi Eze put the Hoops ahead on the hour mark. Caught out of position once more, Alan Hutton gave the freedom of the wing to Paweł Wszołek who swept across the box towards the young forward, who emphatically struck beyond Steer.
Before Abraham connected well with a Bjarnason corner at the near post, he managed to net his second of the day ten minutes after calling Lumley into an impressive save. Substitute Anwar EL-Ghazi created the equaliser with impressive skill and delivery towards Abraham, who’s movement inside the box was enough to turn the ball home.
A late rally from the hosts produced little reward, however. With efforts coming from Hourihane and Bolasie’s poor header at the far post.
Aston Villa will now entertain Swansea in the FA Cup before travelling to Wigan Athletic soon after.