To kick off the day up north in Preston, Villa started with a look we’ve seen a lot of, as of late. The first half, as a whole, was rather dull. A solid chunk of possession for Villa, didn’t see us with many chances, but rather conceding the bigger chances early on.
A corner from Preston spilled out of Ørjan Nyland’s outstretched hands, and fell to a Preston attacker who smacked the ball through the scrum of players in the box, but off the bar.
The only real chances from Preston and attacking threat was really only through their set pieces and long balls, as later on in the half, a ball from midfield was put on a platter for former Villan, Graham Burke. His full-volley was a near perfect one at that, and Ørjan Nyland made a massive save to keep the scores leveled.
After a few half chances for Villa, and one big chance when Anwar El Ghazi broke after some combination with Tammy Abraham, but made the wrong decision in the end, when he fired it over the bar, instead of maybe slotting Tammy back through.
On the brink of halftime, right as the 45th minute approached, a Glenn Whelan corner was whipped in, and Tammy Abraham fought through the manhandling of his shirt, and got up to win and score the header. A well fought for, well finished header that saw Villa 1-0 up away at Preston at the half. Tammy the lone goal, in the 45’.
The second half started like the first, with Villa controlling possession, and Preston breaking through over the top with long balls. Time and time, and chance and chance again, Villa escaped, until they couldn’t. An equalizer in the 61’ gave Preston the goal they needed to lock this game down for the point.
Villa made two changes in the second half, as Yannick Bolasie came off in the 68’ for Albert Adomah, who is finally battling back from injury, and then in the 75’, Birkir Bjarnason came on for Glenn Whelan as Villa were going for all three points.
Villa absolutely dominated possession throughout the match, but the chances that fell were only semi-dangerous, and shots from outside the box.
Then, in the final 10 minutes of the match, there were some hectic chances on both ends when there was an absolutely bottled chance that fell through to the sub Birkir Bjarnason at the back post, and he somehow misses the net. It looked easier to score, than to miss, and he’s missed it.
He almost made up for it with a driven shot from outside of the box a few minutes later, but it wasn’t meant to be today for the Icelandic midfielder, who is also now finally back from injury too.
Some more chances for Preston kept falling the same way, with booted balls down the field over top of our defenders. Their strikers sprint on past them and take two touches and have a go. Villa can’t defend that, escape luckily at points through good saves and bounces, but really it is two points dropped at this stage, rather than a point gained away from home. 1-1, the final whistle blows.
Villa go on to the new year in 9th place, 2 points off a playoff spot and 11 off of the automatic spot. We start the new year on New Year’s Day at home to QPR.