Aston Villa travelled to Derby County today for a match that could have major implications on the promotion race.
Unfortunately, this potential six-pointer, ended with Steve Bruce’s side taking a 2-0 defeat.
To say that outcome was not deserved would be a barefaced lie. The claret and blue, outside of maybe two players maximum, were poor. The performance has seemingly left many supporters far less optimistic about the rest of this Championship campaign.
Here is a brief recap of today’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Rams:
Any neutral watching the match would have been pleased by the fact that just 35 seconds in, David Nugent found himself through on goal.
Fortunately for Villans, Neil Taylor’s last-gasp challenge was enough to force the Derby man’s shot just wide of Sam Johnstone’s goal. However, David Nugent’s chance was a sign of things to come.
Seven minutes later, after two Derby corner’s, Nugent again had another chance on Villa’s goal. His ambitious overhead kick nearly came off. Again, the claret and blue were fortunate to avoid what would have been a spectacular opener for the Rams.
After that second attempt, Steve Bruce’s men started to get more of a foothold in the match. However, in the 15th minute, it was again David Nugent who very nearly grabbed the opener!
Sam Johnstone was forced to make a great save on a point-blank header after misjudging Craig Forsyth’s cross. From then on Villa were able to take more control of the ball. It was largely Jack Grealish who was controlling the attacking play.
In the 20th minute, he continued his bright start with a charging run up the pitch. Unfortunately he was not given much help by his teammates and was eventually dispossessed by a gaggle of Derby defenders in the box.
Just three minutes later, Villa found themselves down 1-0 thanks to – of all who could score in this fixture – Andreas Weimann.
Fucking hell, just an absolute shocker from Glenn Whelan. What on earth…1-0 after an Andi Weimann goal. Just horrid…— 7500 To Holte (@7500toHolte) December 16, 2017
It was an awful way to give up an opening goal. Though the reality was that David Nugent probably could have just as well, already had a hat-trick.
The 27th minute saw Villa get their first half-chance when Neil Taylor got a left-footed shot off in the 18-yard box. That attempt was indicative of Villa having more of the ball.
For the remainder of the half, Gary Rowett’s men did not really threaten another goal. Villa on the other hand had two more notable efforts via Jack Grealish (40’) and Conor Hourihane in the first minute of stoppage time.
Even though Aston Villa had 67% of the possession, the first whistle blew with a score that was probably justified.
Villa came out of the locker room looking like a team that got a good talking to. Just five minutes in, Richard Keough’s was forced to clear Robert Snodgrass’ shot off the line.
That attempt, which came from an Albert Adomah cross, would turn out to be Aston Villa’s best chance of the entire match.
Steve Bruce’s men went on to put the Rams defence under pressure at times. Villa’s attack won multiple crosses and created a few half-chances. However, the details of such instances ended up being a moot point by the time the match at Pride Park ended.
If it weren’t for the outstanding play of Sam Johnstone and his SIX saves, the match could have been an absolute drubbing.
When Johnny Russell scored Derby County’s second in the first minute of stoppage time, it was rather fitting and deserved.
The fixture ended as it started, with a through ball playing a man in on Villa’s goal. Unlike David Nugent, Russell left no doubt and finished off a fairly shocking Aston Villa side.
Outside of Johnstone, and maybe Jack Grealish, there was nothing for supporters to shout about. Fortunately, Villa remain fifth in the table.
With 37 points, they are tied with sixth-place Sheffield United, the side they host next Saturday at Villa Park. If Aston Villa can somehow conjure up a far better performance and three points in that match, it would be a gift for all.