Despite a nervy closing period of the game, a change of system for Aston Villa in a new year has seen them leave Turf Moor with all three points.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to Turf Moor for the first game of 2020, facing Burnley with a brand new formation that saw Konsa, Hause and Mings as a trio at the back.
The first ten minutes, Aston Villa looked the stronger of the two sides. Wesley had a chance to put the away side one up with a shot that took a deflection and went out for a corner.
Jack Grealish ended up scoring from the resulting corner, albeit a later cross post-set-piece, but the goal was ruled out for an offside in the build-up. It was Wesley that was offside, by millimetres.
Lax defending from Burnley in the 20th minute saw Aston Villa get two shots on goal which were both saved well by Nick Pope, one from Wesley (which Jack Grealish decided to pass to him rather than shoot himself) and the other from Douglas Luiz.
Wesley made up for his earlier miss with a strong finish, later on, chesting a ball down after Grealish’s pass took a deflection before taking the ball on the volley and firing between Pope’s legs – and into the net. The reaction from Douglas Luiz, his fellow countryman, and Jack Grealish said all you need to know.
Both sides dropped the tempo for a short period, but Aston Villa still looked the better of the two sides.
The 41st minute saw Jack Grealish double Aston Villa’s lead in what should have been his second goal of the game, as the ball found him just inside the box in acres of space, allowing him to bury the ball with power.
The sides went in at the break, with Aston Villa two goals ahead.
Burnley made two changes at half time to try and improve on their poor first half, with Jay Rodriguez and Gudmundsson entering the fray.
Aston Villa had the chance to capitalise on an early mistake as Grealish, Luiz and Wesley broke forward, with Luiz opting to take a shot which was easily collected by Nick Pope.
Neil Taylor was booked for a late challenge in the 47th minute.
Tarkowski was booked on the hour mark for a challenge on Jack Grealish on the edge of the Burnley box.
Wesley was stretchered off the pitch in the 70th minute after a strong challenge from Ben Mee left the Brazilian forward on the floor, as his leg looked to lock up under the challenge. Jonathan Kodjia replaced the striker.
Kodjia had a chance after Grealish broke forward in the 72nd, but sliced a shot wide rather than raising his head and squaring the ball to Trezeguet.
Conor Hourihane replaced Trezeguet in the 77th minute.
Chris Wood brought Burnley back into the game in the 80th minute as he headed into the top left corner. Tom Heaton looked to hurt himself in an attempt to save the ball – which he did get a hand to. Heaton was replaced in the 82nd minute by Orjan Nyland.
At the end of the regular 90, there were nine minutes of added time.
Douglas Luiz had the opportunity to wrap things up in the 94th minute as he robbed Mee of the ball before firing directly into Pope’s hands instead of attempting a lob.
In the closing period of the added time, Tyrone Mings made an impressive block to stop a cross towards the goal, before Orjan Nyland made a strong catch from the resulting corner to mark his valuable contribution to the game.
A new year, a new system and three points!