Aston Villa’s game at Turf Moor against Sean Dyche’ Burnley was a chance to chalk up another win following the weekend’s success against Newcastle. Defeat was to come in the form of three second half Burnley goals and before we get onto how on Earth Villa did not win the game, let us go over the line-ups that faced each other on Wednesday evening.

Burnley XI:

Aston Villa XI:

The game started and Villa were right at Burnley from the off and their first chance of the contest came from a set-piece in the first five minutes of the game from which Ezri Konsa’s header went just over the crossbar. This was a prime example for what type of game was awaiting both sides in the first half. Villa’s next chance came to Watkins, but the former Brentford forward could only find the gloves of Nick Pope. Not to worry though, as just a few minutes later a lovely team move from Villa ended in a ball across the Clarets box to the feet of Watkins who managed to divert the ball into the back of the net to give Dean Smith’s team the lead in the contest.

Villa were firing on all cylinders and had a plethora of chances to extend their advantage that would have likely put the game to bed. Watkins had the chance to do just that just before half time from a McGinn pass, but he could not convert the chance. Then, another wonderful passing move ended in both Bertrand Traore and Tyrone Mings having efforts on goal, but they were denied by the excellent Nick Pope. The half time whistle came with Villa holding a deserved lead – but no-one was quite sure how Villa did not hold a bigger advantage going into the half time break.

The second half came and started different from the first and it was clear that this half was going to be far tougher and Villa were going to have to take their game to another level to secure another win. Such was Burnley’s resurgence in the game, they equalised early in the second period when Ben Mee scored a great header to bring the game level.

Jack Grealish then happened. The Villa captain went on an amazing mazy run past most of the Burnley team and once he got to the Burnley box, he took the shot at goal but was unable to give Villa the lead which would have been a certain goal of the season contender. There was not much to time to be disappointed though and the Villa captain was able to score a lovely goal from within the Clarets penalty box following yet another passing move to give Villa a 2-1 lead and most Villa fans thought that the team would go on to get another three points.

Villa were then to be punished for not being ruthless in front of goal. The first blow came when Dwight McNeil’s fizzed cross into the Villa box somehow found its way past defenders and the clutches of Martinez into the back of net to put Dyche’s team level. And, just minutes later Smith’s Villans were punished again when Chris Wood scored a header following a cross from McNeil to leave anyone of an Aston Villa persuasion despondent and scratching their heads about how Villa had not put this game to bed in the first half and there is a strong argument that this would have happened if the chances of the first half were converted.

The final whistle was then blown, and Villa had somehow found themselves on the losing side. It must be said that Burnley had a stellar second half and deserve immense credit for their display in the final 45 minutes, but Villa should have been able to win the game with the chances that came to them in the first half. Even with defeat against the Clarets the Villans are still having a fantastic season and no matter how good a season is, disappointing defeats such as this are always going to happen, and it is going to be about how the team reacts.

Onto Southampton on Saturday. UTV!



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