Going to be a bit quick today because Villa were Villa.
In the first half, Villa came out absolutely on fire. Both clubs took a sit back and counter approach, but Burnley tired quickly while Villa didn't. What made today different from previous Villa attempts at the system was fantastic midfield play, led largely by Joe Cole. Playing in place of Charles N'Zogbia, Cole looked great. But really, in that position, he didn't have to. He just had to be competent and he'd be an improvement.
So it was pretty great to see him playing so well. And Villa joined in on things too, playing the most fun half I've seen all season. The sitting back wasn't limp, and the counter was vicious and speedy. And in the 38th minute, after a long ball from a free kick, Joe Cole got a pass from Andi Weimann and scored. Cole becomes only the third Villan to score this year, and he gave the club a lead that they fully deserved.
But Aston Villa are Aston Villa, and things must surely unravel. The rest of the first half looked good, and the second half wasn't terrible per se, but you could see cracks forming. Burnley started attacking with a bit more intent, and Villa weren't countering nearly as much. But, they were holding, and by the 80th minute it seemed as if a win could be in the offing.
And then Gabby Agbonlahor gave away possession stupidly in the midfield, Burnley hoofed a ball back, and Jores Okore knocked into Danny Ings a bit hard in the box, and there was a penalty. It seemed a bit soft to me, but nothing to be too upset about in terms of refereeing.
Of course the penalty was converted, and then Villa looked like junk. And they were lucky to not lose. So instead they held on for a draw against a terrible-looking Burnley. That's not acceptable at this point. Villa's run up until now is explainable, but this was a must-win type of match. So much for that.