One Moment is a rebooted post-game Aston Villa column that takes a closer look at one single moment from the last Villa game. This week, we’re looking at the moment when Wolves buried Aston Villa.
It took 84 minutes for Villa’s hope to be snuffed out. Like a pinched thumb over a dying flame, Villa’s wick crumbled and their fire burned away, late embers attempted to blaze but were brushed out. Less a firework, and more a well-used candle, Villa’s attack melted away without a bright spark.
And really, was it one moment that caused this? Or was it another build up of passing seconds and minutes. Ruben Neves’ first-half hammer blow, a well-struck undefended shot from outside of the area was an expected gut-punch, but the Villans were able to hold out (barely) until half-time.
Then it came. Adama Traore meandered through the midfield, and then the defence. The Malian trickster, and former Villan, pulled the ball back for Raul Jimenez and the Mexican striker scored - with ease - to double Wolverhampton’s lead and crush Aston Villa.
Sure, there are plenty of other moments to discuss. Matty Targett’s concussion and Jed Steer’s achilles injury forced Villa into two early changes. Neves did what he does without being stopped, and scored. Off-the-ball, Diogo Jota’s homophobic screech of ‘p*ta’ and penalty shouts against Neil Taylor and Jonny Otto, are certainly moments of discussion. In a footballing sense, Aston Villa were completely killed off by Jimenez’s goal. There was no way back.
It was all too easy as well. Villa’s hustle up front saw shots slammed into feet and against backs, while Wolves found fun in carving Villa apart on the wings. Frustratingly ineffective forward play for Villa ebbed out and flowed in delightfully entertaining Wolves counters - entertaining for the neutral of course. Villa fans could do nothing else but look on in fear.
Adama danced through Villa at half-speed. Nobody challenged him. On a day where his burst of pace and eye for deception shone through, he needed nothing other than momentum to evade non-challenges from Villa’s midfield and defence. The winger, who has received criticism due to a lack of ‘end product’ barely needed to stock his shelves to their fullest extent to deliver his most damaging run of the day. A masterfully executed tango through Villa’s defence left them open, and by the time they had caught up to Adama, the ball was passed to Raul Jimenez. With Villa chasing ghosts, Jiminez exorcised them of all hope, with the simplest of exercises; an unchallenged close-range shot.
To say the least, it was not Villa’s day. They tried to score - God knows that they tried - but they were stunted, slow, disjointed and without momentum. Everything they tried equated to nothing. Hope springs eternal, and behind the crest of Aston Villa’s lion rampant, hope and optimism should swell in the breast of every Villa player - because this team knows that it can attack, and that it can score.
And score they did - Trezeguet’s vicious volley crossed the line, and the Egyptian demanded that his team rally behind him - but the match was already over. Everyone bar Trezeguet knew that fact, as a meaningless goal did little else than deny Wolves a clean sheet.
Raul Jimenez’s had struck at Villa a number of times through easily earned chances, and finally gained his just desserts with his late goal. On the other side of the pitch, Aston Villa had to climb mountains to earn even a glimpse of Rui Patricio’s goalmouth.