Home Match Day Villa beat Wolves as they continue Champions League push

Villa beat Wolves as they continue Champions League push

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Leon Bailey celebrates with goalscorer Moussa Diaby.

Unai Emery was questioned about the pressure his Aston Villa side face in the Champions League race.

“I don’t like the word pressure. Pressure, for instance, is what teams are feeling to avoid relegation or even, in everyday life, the real pressure is what every family feels to get income to raise a family. We don’t have pressure – we have an opportunity.”

And that’s just it. Aston Villa are under no pressure whatsoever and has an opportunity to gatecrash the biggest party in club football and it started with Saturday’s visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers to Villa Park.

As with every meeting of the two sides, the old debate of rivalry pops up. Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers are Midlands rivals. It’s not the biggest game for either but both want to beat each other for bragging rights.

Saturday was no different.

Report: Aston Villa 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Emery made two changes to the side that drew with West Ham before the international break. Moussa Diaby replaced Jhon Durán while Diego Carlos was preferred to Clément Lenglet.

Wolves made just one change from the side that was knocked out of the FA Cup by the Championship’s Coventry City. Youngster Leon Chiwome was handed his Premier League debut as Nathan Frazer dropped to the bench.

The home side broke the deadlock early when Douglas Luiz had the ball in the back of the net but the goal was ruled out when Ollie Watkins was judged to have been offside in the build-up.

Despite Villa’s misfortune, the visitors dominated early possession and probably should have had the ball in the net themselves only for Rayan Aït-Nouri to be denied by a world-class save from Emiliano Martínez.

Villa came again and gave the visitors another warning when Youri Tielemans played Watkins through but the England striker could only find the side netting.

Nine minutes before the break, Emery’s men eventually took the lead. Luiz picked out Bailey from a corner kick before the ball fell to Diaby who was waiting on the edge of the box and the French man was able to smash the ball into the back of the net.

Wolves continued to dominate the game in the second half without really looking a threat and any doubt there may have been in the home fans’ heads soon disappeared when Ezri Konsa made it 2-0.

His attempted cross eluded Jose Sa and snuck in at the far post.

It topped off a fantastic week for the defender who had made his England debut earlier in the week.

There was one worry for Villa when Ollie Watkins went off at half-time with the manager unclear whether it was a hamstring injury or not.

What the managers said

Emery: “Those three points at Villa Park has been difficult, against Newcastle, Manchester United and Tottenham, difficult matches, but we did not achieve a point in those matches. But we are being consistent and recovering our confidence, our way.”

“Of course, it was a difficult match. We started soft in the first 20 minutes but we recovered progressively, imposing our game plan and dominating, more or less, the result. We played serious, disciplined. That is very important. It was difficult but we did it.”

Gary O’Neil: “The only thing that is disappointing is the result, I thought performance-wise there were loads of positives, even the numbers, more shots, more possession, higher xG away to Aston Villa, with the problems that we have, it was an unbelievable effort.”

Up Next

Aston Villa will be hoping to do the impossible and do the double over Manchester City in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Wolves travel to Burnley on Tuesday night.

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