Villa Analysis: Firing Blanks Compromises European Dreams
By Alex Martinez
Despite Aston Villa being largely on top throughout most of their encounter with Wolves at the Molineux and enjoying 62% of the possession of the 90 minutes, for the second successive game, they were unable to find the target. After Villa were synonymous with scoring every game under Emery, now it’s not only Ollie Watkins that has dried up in front of goal, as Villa’s European dream begins to fizzle out.
Villa have now dropped down to eighth and now will need at least seven points out of their final nine to have any real chance to play on the continent next season.
So what went wrong?
Statistical Analysis- Villa Rue Missed Chances
Yet again, Villa had a higher xG then their opponents, with the Villains registering a 1.48 compared to Wolverhamptons 0.76. Villa again dominated the shooting stats, with them having more shots (16-6) and more shots on target (3-2). Despite Wolves’s gallant defending and success at closing down the space in their own half, Villa still had 12 shots inside the box.
The attacking momentum chart of the game shows Villa dominating for long sustained periods.
Villa’s two big chances missed, one from Ollie Watkins, which generated a 0.20 xG, and Tyrone Mings, which was probably the biggest chance of the match, which generated 0.40 xG, the most from any of the Villa players.
So apart from these two missed chances, does the blame lie anywhere else?
Judging by social media, Emi Buendia has been getting his fare share of stick after the Wolves game. While he may have been visibly struggling in Villa’s last couple of games, against Wolves, the stats sites like Whoscored and Sofascore had Buendia down as Villa’s best player.
While his pass accuracy was the lowest of the starting XI (mainly down to him trying riskier and more imaginative passes), statistically, he made some solid contributions He had the joint most key passes (two) in the Villa squad, an 100% dribble rate (4/4), 7/9 ground duels won, 2/3 aerial duels won, and drew three fouls which is joint second in the Villa squad.
When he’s on song, Buendia is still very much pulling the strings for Villa in the final third (the Newcastle win, was a prime example), but the potential developing partnership with Alex Moreno, that was highlighted previously in this column, seems to have been shackled by the opposition to some degree. As they have become increasingly aware of Villa’s left-hand side threat.
Many times Buendia assists the assist, so his stats definitely don’t reflect his influence on the game. He is one of Villa’s most creative players and obviously Emery needs to find ways to harness his talents to a more consistent degree.
The return of Philip Coutinho may offer a dual benefit by providing a fellow schemer for Buendia in certain game situations, as well as giving the Argentine direct competition.
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