Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Aston Villa recorded their second goalless draw in as many games at home this evening, but the players can’t be faulted for their effort.
The side attacked throughout the game, and looked a better side than they did on the previous weekend against Brentford. Various players, including current top scorer Conor Hourihane came close, but the deadlock just couldn’t be broken.
The game started off very much in Villa’s favour as former claret and blue youngster Adama Traore, who has been enjoying good form as of late, was sent off within the first four minutes for an incredibly reckless and poorly timed challenge on Hourihane. From this point Villa were able to capitalise on having the extra man and looked in control throughout the first half.
Mile Jedinak made an incredibly humble start to his season, spraying passes left and right, showing why the fans were so excited for his return. If he had played the full game, Villa could have been clear winners in the game, but he unfortunately he is still not fully fit and Bruce decided to bring him off for the more attacking option of Scott Hogan.
The second half, Birkir Bjarnason was also subbed off for Albert Adomah, which proved to be a good change.
Villa continued to attack throughout the game, keeping a sound amount of possession, keeping 71% of it. That’s a figure that’s not been seen by Villa fans for some time.
Robert Snodgrass came close, rifling a shot against the crossbar – prompting reaction from the fans that caused those commentating to question whether the ball had crossed the line or not.
Jimmy Danger himself, Jonothan Kodjia was re-introduced to the first team after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, coming on for the waning Keinan Davis. He looked exciting, but it was evident that he wasn’t fully fit.
Villa themselves were reduced to ten men with time ticking down on the clock as Lansbury was dispossessed in the centre of the park and hacked down a Boro player attempting to dispel the impending counter-attack.
The side’s best chance of the game came from Conor Hourihane, who pounced on a saved header from Kodjia. The ball would have been buried in the back of the net, if it were not for the looming stocky frame of Scott Hogan in it’s path. You could see the horror that Hogan was feeling as he slumped down on the goal line.
Aston Villa looked much better on their return to Villa Park – but there were still issues in the play. Much of the attacking prospect came from the wing, with a number of crosses being sent in to the box. The issue was that many of these crosses couldn’t find a Villa head or boot. In some instances, a through ball would have seen one of the forwards through on goal but the play was splintered off to the wings.
On a positive note, this is two clean-sheets in a row and five games on the bounce undefeated – but we must win a number of games this month before our promotion hopes are truly scuppered.