Aston Villa’s season is all but over after falling to a 2-0 loss at the hands West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park. Two late first-half goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and Jay Rodriguez would be the difference in what was Villa’s ninth loss of the campaign. It also meant that Villa had only picked up one point up in two games this season against WBA.
Dean Smith once again rotated his wingers for this encounter. Andre Green and Ahmed Elmohamady came in for Anwar El-Ghazi and Albert Adomah.
Bright start for the Baggies
Only West Brom had scored more than Villa in the league before the sides met for the second time this season. Their attacking threat was for all to see in the opening exchanges. Robson-Kanu linked well with Rodriguez before the former Southampton man found Mason Holgate advancing into a promising position on the right side. The Everton loanee, however, was thwarted by a last-ditch challenge by Tommy Elphick, to deny the Baggies a bright start.
At the other end, it was Villa’s turn to threaten an opening goal. Tammy Abraham had the chance to net his twenty-second of the campaign. Kortney Hause leapt to win an aerial duel after Sam Johnstone hastily cleared his lines. Elmohamady collected the loose ball and fed Abraham who, without any conviction shot straight at the former Villa goalkeeper.
Whilst West Brom were content with sitting back and hitting Villa on the counter-charge, their plan almost paid dividends as Jacob Murphy raced through on goal, after Robson-Kanu again become the linkman. Lovre Kalinic was equal to Murphy’s effort at goal.
Two quick goals
Though, as both sides played down the minutes until the break, West Brom and Robson-Kanu put their stamp on the game. Holgate showed his Premier League class by crossing well, into the near post to find the Welsh forward. His clever header looped over Kalinic to score the nineteenth goal Villa had conceded in sixteen home games.
Four minutes later, and the away side doubled their advantage. Rodriguez’s long-range effort took a fortuitous deflation off Elphick before striking the post and creeping beyond Kalinic to send West Brom into a comfortable lead going into half time.
Elphick was again involved, straight from the second half get-go, as his header came off the top of the woodwork after Conor Hourihane floated in a corner from the right-hand side.
The exact corner was replicated later in the half, but Elmohamady couldn’t reach the far post after initially making a good run. That effort and John McGinn’s fierce strike at goal was as good as it got for Villa until Abraham again squandered another opportunity to at least half the deficit.