Anwar El Ghazi’s injury time penalty secured all three points in a fiery affair that saw two red cards and a number of yellows.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to Tier 3 based Molineux Stadium for the first Midlands derby of the season against Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolverhampton Wanderers this afternoon. Jacob Ramsey was called into the starting XI for his full Premier League debut, whilst Bertrand Traoré was called in for the injured Trézéguet.
It was Wolves who attacked early, but following that attack it was Aston Villa who enjoyed much of the ball and much of the attacking intent in the opening ten minutes, with the home side pinned inside their own half.
There was a Wolves break in the 11th minute as they beat Aston Villa’s high line. Pedro Neto raced down the right before being taken down by Konsa. Fabio Silva waited in a central position before Martinez raced out to collect the ball and took a clip to the back of the head for his troubles.
Douglas Luiz was booked in the 14th minute as he tripped Fabio Silva as the youngster attempted to break forward.
There were a number of fouls conceded by both teams, but perhaps the most pressing of these was in a central position for Wolves just after the 25 minute mark. Neto took a shot after a lay-off, but the ball thundered straight into the Aston Villa defence.
Matty Cash was booked in the 28th minute for a cynical foul on Petro Neto – with a suspension looming – as it was his fifth booking of the season. John McGinn was booked just two minutes later – the third player for Aston Villa to be booked before half time.
The first keeper to truly be tested was Emi Martinez, with Podence attempting a swerving shot from outside of the box that forced the Argentine into a diving save to his left. He was forced into another important save just minutes later as Dendoncker fired from close range, before Mings cleared away the spilled ball spectacularly.
Adama Traore was booked for Wolves for a poor challenge on John McGinn just three minutes before the end of the half.
Aston Villa enjoyed a spell of dominance before the end of the first half, before Wolves had the last opportunity with a swinging free-kick from Joao Moutinho which Fabio Silva headed wide of the far post.
The second half started in the same way the first had been playing – very stop start with referee Mike Dean making a number of calls in the first few minutes.
Aston Villa had started asking questions of Wolves before the hour mark and were enjoying a lot of time in the Wanderers’ final third. Douglas Luiz came close in the 55th minute with an effort from outside of the box which bounced just wide of Patricio’s goal.
Ollie Watkins forced Rui Patricio into a save at his near post in the 65th minute, that could have sneaked in if the Portugal international ‘keeper’s reactions weren’t as quick as they are.
Wolves nearly took the lead in the 69th with a shot from Fabio Silva, who sweeped a shot with his right after Podence’s touch flummoxed Tyrone Mings. The shot beat Martinez but couldn’t beat the woodwork as it bounced off the post and towards the left hand side of the box.
Fifteen minutes from time and Dean Smith made the first change of the afternoon, with Bertrand Traoré replaced by Anwar El Ghazi after a rather eclectic performance from the Burkinabe international.
Emiliano Martinez produced an exceptional save to deny Leander Dendoncker on the volley with ten minutes remaining, before the Belgian was replaced by Ruben Neves.
Matt Targett was booked for a challenge on Adama Traore in the 81st. Moutinho followed him into it just a minute later for a challenge on Jack Grealish.
Douglas Luiz was booked again in the 85th minute for an elbow as he went in for a header against Wolves’ Podence, his second of the game, meaning he would also miss the Burnley game.
Jack Grealish was booked for a late challenge from behind on Podence three minutes before added time.
There were five minutes added on at the end of the 90.
Aston Villa were awarded a penalty in the 92nd minute as Nelson Semedo downed John McGinn in the box. Anwar El Ghazi stepped up to take the penalty and fired it into the bottom right with Patricio diving the wrong way.
Joao Moutinho was sent off in the 94th minute for a late outstretched foot to trip Jacob Ramsey who looked to round the midfielder.
Ramsey was replaced by Marvelous Nakamba as the game ticked towards its conclusion.