There are certain ways to lose football matches and the manner in which Aston Villa suffered a defeat at Wolves on Sunday isn’t the way to do it.
It’s not the 2-1 result that was the problem, it’s the manner of performance, lack of fight and lack of desire to try and win your own individual battles that was the problem.
Before a ball was kicked Dean Smith ran into several injury problems. Jack Grealish was still out, Tom Heaton picked up a knock and so did Bjorn Engels.
On top of that, back-up goalkeeper Jed Steer is injured five minutes into the game and has to be replaced by Orjan Nyland before Matt Targett suffers a knock of his own just before the break.
But that isn’t an excuse to put in such a shambolic performance. Here are three things we learned from Villa’s defeat at Wolves:
Need to learn to win without Jack
For the second Premier League game running, Jack Grealish was missing from Dean Smith’s starting XI because of the knock he picked up at Manchester City last month. There’s no doubt that Grealish adds flair, creativity and positivity when he is putting on that Villa shirt, but his teammates need to win without him.
Someone else needs to stand up and be counted rather than relying on Jack to be in the team to either produce the goods or lift the pressure off everyone else. The midfield looked abject against Wolves, whilst Trezeguet was the only one who seemingly had any spark in him at Molineux from a Villa perspective. The quicker Villa learn to pick up wins without Jack, the better it’ll be for everyone in the long run.
Pressure mounting on Wesley
The big-money summer signing hasn’t found the back of the net since Villa dispatched Norwich City 5-1 at the start of last month. Whilst he has shown promise, he is also frustrating the fans. There still needs to be an element of patience with him, but it does seem that the situation he currently finds himself in isn’t entirely his fault.
There are times when the Brazilian can look brilliant, but he can then completely go missing and frustrate the whole crowd. But the problem is that he hardly has any competition. Keinan Davis was producing the goods in the League Cup, but he’s injured and whilst Jonathan Kodjia has returned from injury, he doesn’t look anywhere near the fitness levels required.
What Wesley needs is some more backing and someone to push him for a starting spot. Whilst he does need that arm around the shoulder, he also needs to be looking over his shoulder at someone potentially taking place. If that can be provided then Villa fans might see an extra five or 10% from him, which would bode very well for his game.
The defence needs sorting out
This is perhaps the biggest concern out of that lot! Whilst some may look towards the final third, it’s the backline that should be the area that needs fixing pretty quickly. Villa are simply conceding way too many chances and allowing the opposition too many efforts on their goal.
Even when Villa were picking up points, they were conceding, as Smith’s side have conceded the most shots on their goal than any other team in the Premier League so far this season. One way Smith can solve the issue is to stick with the current back five (including the goalkeeper), and keep Marvelous Nakamaba and Douglas Luiz as your sitters. Whilst they may continue to struggle, Smith has to allow them to learn before they getter better. If that doesn’t suit then making big changes and big decisions is another way forward. Whether that be taking a big-name player out of the backline or an even better option is changing the formation. Either way, something needs sorting!