Aston Villa could only manage a goalless draw against Premier League strugglers Burnley in a game they will rue their missed opportunities.
Dean Smith was forced into several changes with suspensions and injuries taking their toll. Ahmed Elmohammady and Marvelous Nakamba replaced the suspended duo of Matty Cash and Douglas Luiz. Anwar El Ghazi was rewarded for his late winner against Wolves by replacing the injured Trezeguet while Kortney Hause came in for Ezri Konsa who was ill.
Villa quick on the blocks
Despite being forced into multiple changes, Villa were quick out of the blocks. Both Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins were denied early on as Bertrand Traore’s effort failed to hit the target.
It was pretty clear early on that Burnley had a game plan, to come to Villa Park and try and hold out for a draw, if they could pinch something then great.
Despite Villa’s best efforts, it was clear that some of the players were not as well organised as Dean Smiths’ side have been this season with passes going nowhere at times. There was a real lack of tempo also, something Villa have managed well at times this campaign.
That isn’t to take anything away from those who came in though. All of those that came in, did themselves proud and gave Smith food for thought. Hause was solid at the back, in particular in the air. Nakamba was everywhere. Elmohammady was his usual trusted self although his crossing wasn’t as on point as normal but that’s to be expected with his lack of game time of late. Then we have El Ghazi who was a man on a mission. A man trying to prove a point and was only let down by his finishing in front of goal.
Burnley on the counter
Burnley did have their own chances despite the home sides domination. A lot of their chances came through long ball’s and counter-attack, not the style for me but if it works for them then it works for them.
Former Villa man, Ashley Westwood came close for Burnley but he could only watch on as his effort curled wide of the goal. Dwight McNeill, who was probably Burnley’s biggest threat, made a few mazy runs that Villa’s make-shift midfield struggled to deal with.
The best effort for Burnley came when Chris Wood got on the end of a cross from a Robby Brady cross but Emi Martinez was equal to the effort as he kept yet another clean sheet.
27 chances on goal
The one big frustration for Villa last season was that we struggled to create chances. No-one could accuse us of that after this game. Villa finished the game with 27 shots on goal, TWENTY-SEVEN.
It is something we have come to expect from Manchester City’s and Liverpool‘s of this world, but not Villa.
Some would argue, many of those efforts were half chances but it is still a big improvement on last season.
We did have our big chances though, Grealish beat the Burnley defence with another of his ‘Grealish-type’ runs but his effort could only hit the corner post. Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause both had free headers in the box but could only direct the ball wide and onto the woodwork.
We had our chances to win the game but didnt. We only have ourselves to blame but we don’t have time for a pity party as the games come thick and fast this season and especially this time of the year. As a team, Villa must take the positives and move onto the next one with another local derby, this time against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.