Aston Villa 0 Wolves 0
Wolves and Aston Villa shared the spoils in their latest Premier League clash, as the best of the chances for both sides fell to defenders and were not taken.
The woodwork was struck three times at Villa Park, twice in the first period by the hosts, and once in an improved second-half performance by Wolves, with captain Conor Coady heading against the upright before Romain Saiss hit the rebound over from underneath the crossbar. Coady was denied once again late on by a stunning save from former Wolves goalkeeper Emi Martinez, as the game ended goalless.
Having brought Willian Jose back into the starting 11 from the side that began the defeat at Manchester City in midweek, Wolves found themselves on the back foot in the early stages at Villa Park, with Ollie Watkins being allowed to turn outside the box and launch a stunning effort towards goal which beat Rui Patricio, but cannoned back off the crossbar.
Wolves were trying to get a foothold in the game themselves through Pedro Neto, and the winger made a great drive from midfield, but his cross from the right was unable to be turned into a chance for Willian Jose, and the ball flashed across the area.
Nuno’s side were almost the creators of their own downfall with 10 minutes on the clock when Leander Dendoncker gave the ball to a man in a claret and blue shirt, which led to Watkins baring down on goal, but his pass across the area was well cut out by Jonny.
The hosts continued to catch Wolves out as Villa struck Patricio’s crossbar for a second time. A cross came in from the left and was allowed to bounce in the box before Ezri Konsa hammered the ball against the bar from five yards out.
After his first Premier League goal of his career against City earlier in the week, Coady was hunting for his second in two games as a Joao Moutinho free-kick was flicked into his path inside the Villa penalty area, but the ball bounced just behind the Wolves captain.
Coady was back to his usual role of defending moments later when the centre-back did well to block Watkins’ shot after the Villa forward had got past Dendoncker and Nelson Semedo and into a decent shooting area.
Half-time: Villa 0 Wolves 0
If Wolves were to take a lead in the tie, the most obvious route was going to be through the boots of Neto, who was the most threatening player in a gold and black shirt.
And the winger was set away down the right direct from a Villa corner as the ball was headed away from the Wolves penalty area by Coady, which allowed Neto to use his pace to break. Having got past the final Villa defender in Matt Targett, Neto tried his luck against Martinez from a tight angle, but the former old gold stopper was able to get a strong palm to the effort.
As with many of their games in the past three seasons, Wolves began the second-half on the front foot, with Ruben Neves letting fly from distance, but untroubled Martinez.
Then, the biggest chance to open the scoring fell to a pair of old gold defenders. A well-worked corner was lifted to the far post by Neto and firstly headed goalwards by Coady, who was denied by the upright, and the rebound fell to the boot of Saiss – on the stretch – who lifted the ball over the crossbar from just a matter of yards out.
Both sides were attempting to open the scoring, but Neves was unable to keep his free-kick from flying over the crossbar, while Ahmed El Mohamady headed wide of Patricio’s goal when he jumped highest inside the Wolves area from a corner.
Coady was becoming Wolves’ biggest threat from set-pieces as the ball found its way to him inside the area from Jose’s shot after a free-kick which was lifted into the Villa box, and having made a smart turn, his low shot was stunningly pushed around the post by Martinez.
Martinez was once again denying Wolves when Fabio Silva won his side a free-kick from a dangerous position on the edge of the Villa box, but Neto’s powerful left-footed strike was kept out by the keeper.
Villa almost snatched all three points into the three added minutes. From a corner, Patricio was equal to Tyrone Mings’ low shot, but the rebound fell to his defensive partner, however, Konsa was unable to direct his shot on target.
Full-time: Villa 0 Wolves 0
Villa: Martinez, El Mohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Sanson (Barkley 61), Traore (Ramsey 83), Trezeguet (Davis 78), Watkins.
Unused subs: Heaton, Kesler, Engels, Taylor, Nakamba, Philogene-Bidace.
Wolves: Patricio, Semedo, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Traore, Neto, Jose (Silva 78).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Boly, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Vitinha, Gibbs-White.
Referee: Andy Madley