Aston Villa’s long run in the Premier League without a win continued as they lost 0-1 to local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers. Manager Dean Smith’s latest excuse was the number of games in such a short period of time for the reason of a tired-looking performance after the Wolves game.
Smith made a few changes to his line-up by re-introducing Keinan Davis as he played a 4-4-2 formation as demanded by a number of fans. Conor Hourihane and Marvelous Nakamba also came into the side as Trezeguet and Awar El Ghazi were once again the fall guys. John McGinn was also rested.
Villa came out of the blocks quite comfortable as they looked in control of the game. Wolves were quite happy to sit deep and see what the relegation battlers had to offer.
Jack Grealish has come into a little bit of criticism from a minority of fans with some suggesting his mind is already elsewhere although the captain looked in a good shape and was getting on the ball as much as possible.
Over the game, it was fairly tight with Villa enjoying a lot of the ball but neither goalkeeper having much to do.
The home side was also forced into an early change when Matt Targett went off with what looked like a hamstring problem, Neil Taylor replaced him.
The only goal of the game.
The only goal of the game came from Wolves through Leander Dendoncker.
Wolves introduced former Villa winger Adama Traore and almost immediately they scored the only goal of the game. Jonny picked up the ball as he turned McGinn and ran through the middle of the field. Raul Jimenez caused problems in the area for the Villa defence, freeing up Dendonker on the edge of the box who rifled a low shot into the bottom corner.
Villa tried to find a response but their build-up play was often too slow as they looked like a side who had given up and were ready to accept their fate.
Smith’s days numbered?
Rumours surfaced after the game that the Villa board would discuss the future of manager Smith after the latest defeat. I have touched upon it in previous and reports that Smith looks out of his depth.
I would love nothing more than for him to prove me wrong but a manager shouldn’t still be tinkering with his team and tactics trying to find the right formula 32 games into the season.
Personally, I would find it surprising if we did choose to replace him now. With just 6 games to go, it almost seems like its too little too late. We may as well give Smith the opportunity the chance to finish what he started and reevaluate next summer.
It doesn’t get much easier for Villa though with Liverpool up next.