It was a poor end to 2019 for Aston Villa as we continued our adjustment to our return to the Premier League and even the more optimistic amongst us had to admit the earlier spirit and determination seemed to have evaporated and performances (not just results) were becoming a concern – so few expected much New Year cheer against a tough and drilled Burnley side.
Given we hadn’t won at Turf Moor since March 1959, it was an omen most expected to continue. But then we took to the pitch and although the hosts had the possession and the greater chances overall, we limited them to one effort on target and with six of our own, Jack Grealish opened the scoring only to expectedly see the Video Assistant Referee technology (sic) decide that Wesley’s foot was a pubic hair offside in the buildup.
The finest margins!
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 1, 2020
That didn’t dent our spirit though and Wesley got himself on the scoresheet 27 minutes in and Jack rightly got his goal in the 41st. Burnley did rally and made it a one goal game with ten minutes remaining in the match, but whilst it wasn’t pretty we weren’t in a lot of danger.
A number of fans will have been happy to see head coach Dean Smith alter the system after recent criticisms, but even when we make some of our own luck, we don’t get much and we wait to see the severity of injury to both Wesley and Tom Heaton.
Speaking to the BBC following the game, Smith clearly wants more for the rest of 2020.
“We changed the system and I thought that we wanted to get on the ball and play. The lads looked really accomplished at it. We’ve only had a couple of days to work on it. A lot of them have played it before at previous clubs. We’ve been conceding too many goals and playing the three helped us get an extra head in the box. Burnley is a tough place to come and they know how to stay in this league but we felt we could compete with them. VAR played its part as usual but we scored two great goals as well. Jack Grealish is unfortunate to not have two goals today. I’m still not sure why it was disallowed looking at the still image. I thought theirs should’ve been disallowed for a push on Tyrone Mings.”
Back out of the relegation zone and hopefully that’s where we’ll stay for the rest of the season.
1/01/2020 12:30 pm
|Wood (80)||Wesley (27), Grealish (41)|