Leon Bailey missed a huge chance to complete Aston Villa’s comeback against Wolves but both sides had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.
Danny Ings had come off the bench to equalize for Unai Emery’s side in a fiery West Midlands derby. Wolves had looked to be heading out of the relegation zone as a result of Daniel Podence’s fine early goal before Villa rallied in the second half.
Ultimately, Julen Lopetegui’s side were grateful for a point after Bailey rounded goalkeeper Jose Sa only to shoot wide of the near post with the goal gaping. The winger was in tears, distracted when the full-time whistle was blown just seconds later.
Villa move up to 11th. Wolves stay 19th.
Aston Villa: Martinez (7), Cash (6), Konsa (6), Mings (8), Digne (5), Luiz (6), Kamara (7), Bailey (5), Buendia (5), Young (5), Watkins (6).
Subs: Coutinho (7), Ings (8), Augustinsson (7), Dendoncker (6).
Wolves: Sa (6), Semedo (6), Collins (6), Kilman (7), Bueno (6), Nunes (6), Neves (6), Moutinho (6), Hwang (6), Costa (6), Podence (8).
Subs: Traore (6), Ait-Nouri (6), Hodge (6), Cunha (6), Toti (6).
Player of the match: Danny Ings.
How the West Midlands derbies played out
There was little hint of the late drama early on.
Wolves put Villa under pressure from the outset. The breakthrough goal itself was wonderfully worked, Joao Moutinho reversing the pass to Podence who finished superbly into the far corner.
Villa had been hugely impressive in defeating Tottenham but this was a different sort of game and with Wolves dominating the ball, the home support became increasingly agitated. They wanted to see possession and pressing but there was little of either for 45 minutes.
Unai Emery made two changes to the Aston Villa team that won at Tottenham. Emiliano Martinez replaced Robin Olsen, while Matty Cash came in for John McGinn.
Julen Lopetegui named an unchanged Wolves line-up following the narrow home defeat to Manchester United, with new signing Matheus Cunha included among the substitutes.
Emiliano Martinez, returning to the team following his World Cup win with Argentina, had to make a smart stop to prevent Matheus Nunes from doubling Wolves’ advantage while the closest Villa came in the first half was Lucas Digne’s free-kick that was tipped over.
The game changed completely in the second half following the introduction of Philippe Coutinho as Villa pushed for an equalizer and Wolves dropped deeper and deeper, relying on their own substitute Adama Traore to provide the threat on the counter-attack.
Max Kilman did well to clear Ludwig Augustinsson’s wicked volley off the line but with the crowd up, the momentum was irresistible and the equalizer came when Tyrone Mings’ long ball found Ings racing through the middle. Sa delayed and the striker lifted it over him.
There appeared to be only one winner at that point but Rayan Ait-Nouri forced a fine stop from Martinez after dancing between a number of Villa defenders for what would have been an extraordinary solo goal on the breakaway. The big chance was still to come.
Bailey appeared to have done the hard work having eluded the goalkeeper. But with the ball on his weaker right foot, he did not have the confidence or the technique to slot into the vacant net. He was distracted when the whistle came seconds later. A miss for the ages.
FPL Stats: Aston Villa 1-1 Wolves
|Bonus points||Ings (3), Mings (2), Podence (1)|
Lopetegui on improving Wolves
“I think we came here thinking to win and to beat a fantastic team, Aston Villa. This current Aston Villa is one of the best teams in the Premier League. They have shown that against Manchester United, Tottenham and Brighton.
“Our aim was that we are thinking to win. In the end, we had control for 60 minutes. After, we felt tired and had less control. We lost Daniel Podence and he has been very important for us. I hope it is a little injury.
“In the end we get one point so we are a little bit disappointed. But for us to go to the dressing room with our point is good for us because we are improving and feeling better in ourselves.”
Emery defends Bailey after miss
“I can be happy after the second half but I am disappointed too because we need to improve more with what we are doing with our ball possession and how we impose our positioning.
“In the first half, I think we did not control the match how we were speaking. They were pushing. But I think we changed some different tactical issues in the second half and tried to play more with the heart.
“The supporters helped us by pushing us. I think we deserved to draw and had a huge opportunity to win it through Leon Bailey.”
Asked more about the man who spurned the chance to win it for Villa, Emery added: “I am happy with him. He was crying but that is good because he is feeling [it]. He was taking responsibility to score.
“I am very happy with his commitment and very happy with his performance.”
The match in stats
- Aston Villa have not won any of their last seven Premier League home games against Wolves.
- Aston Villa have lost just one of their last five Premier League games, having lost three of their previous four before this run.
- Daniel Podence has scored two goals in his three Premier League appearances for Wolves under Julen Lopetegui, as many as in his previous 19 games in the competition.
- Aston Villa striker Danny Ings has been involved in five goals in his last six Premier League appearances against Wolves (four goals, one assist).
Aston Villa are back in action at Villa Park on Sunday when they host Stevenage in the FA Cup. Their next Premier League game is also at home when they face Leeds United on Friday January 13, live on Sky Sports.
Wolves are away in their FA Cup third-round tie as they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Saturday. There is a Carabao Cup quarter-final at Nottingham Forest next Wednesday before they host West Ham on Saturday January 14.