The West Midlands derby saw Wolves and Aston Villa go into the game with just two points separating the two sides who both have just one win in their last four games.
Fabio Silva was given the nod as the central striker Raul Jimenez was still out with a fractured skull. John McGinn started for Villa after signing a new contract extension until 2025.
A tentative half
Villa were certainly the protagonists of the opening ten minutes. Both sides created little but the early indications were that Villa’s midfield numbers were enabling a domination of the ball. Grealish dropping into the midfield three, leaving Dendoncker and Moutinho slightly overwhelmed.
Villa continued to push and twice had handball claims batted away by Mike Dean and VAR who saw that the incidents, most notably the second against Conor Coady, which saw the arm in a natural position. However, the threat was the concern and Wolves were struggling to get out of their half without losing possession cheaply.
It took until the 37th minute for the best chance of the game to materialise. Neto broke down the left and cut the ball back for Podence in the centre but his strike deflected out for a corner which Wolves failed to take advantage of. However, seconds later the game seemed to come alive for Podence as the Portuguese winger had another effort, this time from further out, well saved by Martinez.
Wolves continued to have a flurry of chances towards the end of the half. Fabio Silva forced a dodgy parry from Martinez which the Villa defence cleared but another chance for Podence was deflected just wide seconds later. The balance had certainly tipped in the home sides’ favour.
An ending viewers deserved
Villa began the second half seemingly rejuvenated and by the 56th minute, mustered a couple of clear-cut chances. The best falling to Brazilian Douglas Luiz who struck a shot from just outside the box low past the left-hand post.
But the game continued to offer very little. Fabio Silva tried to bring the game to life in the 69th minute, set up by Podence, the young forward sent an effort onto the left-hand post but the ball came back out and the move broke down.
But again the game faced a 10-minute spell of little excitement and Dendocker’s volley from Neto’s rabona cross failed to cause little excitement from the drought viewers were being treated to. Martinez produced a strong save though to keep the Belgian at bay. More extravagance was to come, though, after Silva attempted an overhead strike but the shot was tame and an easy claim from Martinez.
But the game was to suddenly spark into life with a red card. Douglas Luiz was shown a second yellow card after an apparent elbow to the face of Podence. The Brazilian looked perplexed as to the decision of Mike Dean but VAR had nothing to say on the decision.
Wolves immediately went on the offensive and Adama Traore was brought down in the box by Grealish but VAR again deemed no action necessary. Wolves looked likely to be the side to steal the 3 points.
However, despite the man disadvantage, Villa won a late penalty. John McGinn, having just signed a new deal, burst into the box and Nelson Semedo brought down the Villa man. El Ghazi, the man who brought Villa up to the Premier League, smashed home the penalty.
Aston Villa have an injury-time winner! 🟣
The visitors, down to 10 men, have secure the three points from the spot!
EL Ghazi as cool as you like… pic.twitter.com/fi1rr3KV8E
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 12, 2020
Joao Moutinho would, however, have the last say, but not in the way Wolves would have liked. The Portuguese midfielder was sent off for a second yellow after tripping Ramsey. A day which had gone from really bad from Nuno Espirito Santo, to dreadful.
The loss leaves Wolves in the bottom half of the table whilst Aston Villa climb up to 8th above Manchester City.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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