The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW32): Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
An early afternoon encounter between local rivals saw Aston Villa hosting a Wolves side with the stakes high for both sides - Champions League and the Championship is the big divide between these two midlands outfits.
The first chance of the game of not fell to Raul Jimenez in the 19th minute when a João Moutinho set-piece flashed across the six-yard box. Raul's flashed header was unable to pose much threat to Nyland in the Villa goal, though itwas a warning sign of the Mexican forward's threat.
Immediately after the drinks break at 25 minutes, Jimenez carved out a half chance as he ran with power and purpose down the right, shrugging off Nakamba before flashing a cross across the box, though the pace of the ball beat Diogo Jota with the ball going for a throw in on the opposite flank.
Aston Villa's best chance of the game arrived in the 36th minute when Jack Grealish was dribbling sideways to open up an angle at goal from just outside the penalty area. The Englishman's shot was comfortably saved by Wolves.
A game of very little suddenly woke audiences up at 42 minutes when Nyland threw the ball into the floor and gifting the ball to Jota from 20 yards out. The attacker shot with power with the effort blazing over the bar - if Jota knew how much time he had and didn't rush the shot, we could have been looking at the first goal of the day.
Aside from a few chances, with Jota's chance the one that got away, it was another Project Restart game that was a slow burner with the second-halh likely to hold the majority of the action.
Predictably after 60 minutes with the arrival of Adama Traore, the right winger is involved straight away and in the build up as he finds Raul Jimenez on the left-wing. The Mexican forward sends the ball to the edge of the box to Jonny Otto, who sweeps it to Leander Dendoncker inside the penalty area and he takes a touch before slotting a low shot inside the post for the first goal of the game.
Aston Villa tried to press for an equalising goal, though there was no real cutting edge, with the game fizzling out as a compact Wolves side, who only made the two subs the entire game, saw out the game for a 4th consecutive clean sheet.
Man of the Match: Leander Dendoncker (WOL)
In a match void of quality, the arrival of Adama Traore changed the entire match and his first burst of pace down the right-wing was the catalyst for the only goal of the game, which was excellently taken by Leander Dendoncker when Otto found the midfielder in the box. It's fair that the Belgian is man of the match given how disciplined he was over the course of the game and this was the manner in which Wolves got across the line.
AVL 0-1 WOL - Insight and Analysis:
The match itself will not be remembered in years to come, but the implications for this match might. Aston Villa, who only managed 2 shots on target from 11 attempts were woeful to watch and lacked any killer instinct in the penalty area. Wesley has been a big miss as the big Belgian can occupy multiple defenders, that in turn provides the likes of Jack Grealish to have more influence in and around attacking third. Without a real vocal point, there was just a lot of running from Davis and Samatta and based on what everyone has seen of Villa, they looked doomed for the drop to the Championship.
Aston Villa's relegation run-in:
GW33: Liverpool (A)
GW34: Man United (H)
GW35: Crystal Palace (H)
GW36: Everton (A)
GW37: Arsenal (H)
GW38: West Ham (A)
With Liverpool, United, Everton and Arsenal on the horizon, it will take a few miracle results for Villa to be in a position to beat the drop if they want to set up a final day duel against West Ham to decide which team in claret and blue bites the bullet.
Wolves meanwhile have been defensively superb and that was the real highlight. Their defensive trio never looked in any real danger and the organisational discipline shown highlights why they're worthy of a place in the Champions League next season. 6 clean sheets in their last 7 league games, and 4 wins from 5 games, puts Nuno's side on the cusp of history - and in truth, they deserve it. Wolves have been a stellar addition to the Premier League and look a difficult outfit to stop given how they are set up on a weekly basis.
You could see the script of this game from a million miles off. A stale affair until Traore was released and it would be his inclusion that would trigger a singular moment that would eventually unlock a Villa side void of any quality or defensive togetherness, that would decide the game.
Venue: Villa Park
Manager: Dean Smith
GK: O. Nyland
DEF: E. Konsa (El Mohamady '60)
DEF: K. Hause
DEF: T. Mings
DEF: M. Targett (Taylor 11')
MID: Douglas Luiz
MID: C. Hourihane (McGinn 60')
MID: M. Nakamba (Trézéguet 82')
MID: J. Grealish
FOR: K. Davis (El Ghazi 82')
FOR: M. Samatta
Taylor, Drinkwater, McGinn, Trézéguet, El Ghazi, Jota, El Mohamady, Reina, Vassilev
Manager: Nuno Espírito Santo
GK: Rui Patrício
DEF: W. Boly
DEF: C. Coady
DEF: R. Saïss
DEF: M. Doherty
DEF: J. Otto
MID: L. Dendoncker
MID: R. Neves
MID: João Moutinho
FOR: R. Jiménez (Neto 85')
FOR: D. Jota (Traore 60')
Cavaco Jordão, Neto, Castelo Podence, Gibbs-White, Ruddy, Vinagre, Traoré, Kilman, Buur
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