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Aston Villa 0 Wolves 0 - Report

Both teams hit the woodwork and Romain Saiss produced one of the misses of the season as the Midlands derby between Villa and Wolves ended goalless.

Ollie Watkins and Ezri Konsa sent efforts against the bar inside the opening 15 minutes as the hosts started strongly at Villa Park.

But Wolves responded in the second half, Conor Coady hitting the post with Saiss somehow putting the rebound over from a yard out.

Coady was also denied by Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as the visitors could find no way through.

Analysis

The hosts almost snatched a stoppage time winner, with Wolves thankful to goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who denied Watkins before Konsa put the rebound wide.

That was perhaps a fitting end to a match where both teams were left to rue poor finishing and both goalkeepers had only one serious save to make each.

But then only Saiss will know how he failed to convert his big chance, after Coady had struck the post.

A game of two halves, with Villa on top in the first and Wolves the second, the result ultimately did little for either team.

While Villa, who were again without Jack Grealish, are at risk of losing further ground in the race for European qualification, Wolves face a battle to make the top-10.

While Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo made just one change to the team beaten 4-1 at Premier League leaders Manchester City on Tuesday, recalling Willian Jose in place of Ki-Jana Hoever, Villa boss Dean Smith made three changes from the XI which fell to a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United in midweek.

That included a first Premier League start for January signing Morgan Sanson and a first start since November for Egyptian winger Trezeguet. Douglas Luiz also returned to the midfield with Marvelous Nakamba, Jacob Ramsey and Anwar El Ghazi all dropping out, the latter from the squad entirely due to a toe injury.

It was Watkins who came close to giving Villa the dream start inside four minutes. Collecting the ball after a neat first-time passing move involving Sanson and John McGinn, the striker turned toward goal 25 yards out and arrowed a fierce drive which crashed off the bar with Patricio beaten.

It was the seventh time Watkins had struck the woodwork this season, more than any other player in the top flight.

Villa’s pressing was forcing Wolves into mistakes. Leander Dendoncker’s pass infield for Joao Moutinho was pounced on McGinn and again Watkins was away, this time picking the wrong option as he looked to pass to Bertrand Traore instead of shooting.

Traore then delivered a wicked cross in from the left and after Mings had missed it at the near post, the ball ran to Konsa. The defender’s first touch brought it under control, before his second sent it off the bar as Wolves again escaped.

The visitors were struggling to get anything going. When good work from Jose set up a counter, Moutinho’s pass to Neto was overhit by a distance.

Wolves’ best opening of the first half-hour was a Moutinho free-kick which after being flicked on was just too far in front of Coady.

The visiting skipper was regularly in the thick of the action at the other end, at one stage blocking from Watkins and then heading clear when the ball was returned into the box.

Neto had Wolves’ first attempt on goal five minutes into the second half. When a Villa corner was headed clear the winger suddenly found himself with only Matt Targett to beat. Despite being forced wide, his shot still required a smart save from Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez.

The visitors were finally starting to find their feet and would have led were it not for a stunning miss from Saiss. A short corner was worked to Neto, whose wicked cross to the far post found an unmarked Coady. Though the Wolves captain, who netted his first Premier League goal in the defeat to City, could only plant his header against the post, Saiss looked a certainty to score only to scoop the rebound over from barely a yard out.

Villa brought on Ross Barkley for their first change but the Chelsea loanee almost set up a goal for the visitors, playing the ball back toward his own goal as his team looked to clear a free-kick. Jose’s mis-hit shot fell to Coady who again looked likely to score only for Martinez to produce a superb save at point-blank range.

It was Villa who then nearly snatched it at the death, Patricio saving from Watkins before Konsa sent the rebound wide.

Key Moments

4 OFF THE BAR Ollie Watkins almost gives Villa the perfect start with a 25-yard effort which crashes off the bar.

14 OFF THE BAR Villa go close again, this time Ezri Konsa clattering the woodwork from close range.

56 OFF THE POST Conor Coady heads Pedro Neto’s cross against the upright and Romain Saiss sends the rebound over from a yard out.

Teams

Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez, Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Luiz, Traore (Ramsey 83), Sanson (Barkley 61), Trezeguet (Davis 78), Watkins Subs not used: Kesler, Engels, Taylor, Nakamba, Philogene-Bidace, Heaton (gk).

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny, Neto, Jose (Silva 78), Traore Subs not used: Ait-Nouri, Hoever, Boly, Gibbs-White, Vitinha, Kilman, Ruddy (gk).

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