Aston Villa took the short trip to Molineux Stadium today to face Wolverhampton Wanderers and ended up with little to show except wasted petrol and a one-goal loss. Paul Lambert must have particularly enjoyed beating the team that caused him to look like Paul Lambert Sr., but he was probably the only one to enjoy these two hours we all spent watching.
The first half was a dire affair. Nathan Baker, usually a bright spot with James Chester, was set to start but hurt himself in warm-ups and got replaced by Tommy Elphick. Rather predictably, Elphick was pretty bad and the Villa defense (as well as the Villa midfield and the Villa attack) looked ready to concede a goal. And concede they did when, in the 15th minute, Joe Mason managed to take advantage of this:
hmm this looks like bad defending idk pic.twitter.com/ZsADJnXORE— 7500 To Holte (@7500toHolte) January 14, 2017
...and score a goal. You may notice starting keeper Sam Johnstone flailing around in that screengrab there. That’s because Sam Johnstone just sort of flailed around ineffectually. Very big improvement over Pierluigi Gollini, who allowed seventeen goals in twenty Championship matches.
Not that I’m bitter.
After the boneheaded mistakes by all involved led to Aston Villa trailing, the rest of the team decided to embrace the spirit of the day and just play like utter garbage. Particularly galling was the play of Jordan Amavi, a man that Aston Villa has on the roster instead of the £25 million with which they could have basically bought a second XI. To say that he was bad would be doing a disservice to the word bad.
To be fair to Wolves, they actually played well. They had mastered such complicated skills as dribbling and passing. These are skills with which Aston Villa showed a familiarity, but with which they are yet to be proficient. Hopefully in time they will come.
The second half was... better? Sure. We’ll go with better. I mean, it wasn’t good. But relative to what we saw in the first half it was definitely an improvement. It saw the introduction of Jack Grealish (what an idea) and Andre Green (I had literally forgotten about him). They took the place of Aaron Tshibola and Albert Adomah, respectively, as Steve Bruce continued to make his “just use lots of forwards and you don’t need a midfield” strategy work. Spoiler: it did not.
And the whole thing ended in a one-goal loss for Villa. Which, to be fair, was probably better than they deserved. There are a little more than two weeks left in the January window. We can still fix this.