Aston Villa player ratings gallery vs Wolves: Four score 7/10 and plenty of 6s in draw

Aston Villa player ratings from the 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.

Aston Villa were held to one of the most chaotic 1-1 draws you’ll ever see as local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers caused a feisty, stop-start Premier League encounter at Molineux Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Unai Emery was left frustrated by his team’s lack of control throughout as the hosts broke up the play and disrupted the flow of possession. Hwang Hee-chan opened the scoring early in the second half and Pau Torres netted instantly afterward to liven up the game but it wasn’t until added time when Mario Lemina was sent off for the hosts that Villa could find any true momentum. Wolves, albeit rocked by going down to 10 men, were able to hold on to force the Villans into sharing the points.

The visitors did have some early hope as they shook off the Molineux noise with some clever, patient build-up play before creating some openings. Midweek hero John McGinn nearly notched an assist in the eighth minute as he whipped an accurate ball toward the far post and Matty Cash, playing in a more advanced right midfield role, forced Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa into the first save of the game. The Poland international got plenty of power on his volleyed strike but it wasn’t enough as Sa got across well to defend his near post. McGinn then had a go of his own as he attempted an audacious 35-yard strike and, although it didn’t trouble Sa, the dip on the ball nearly earned an opener.

Both sets of fans had plenty to disagree on when the clock headed beyond the 20th minute as McGinn had several rather hilarious confrontations with Wolves defender Craig Dawson in the defensive quarter. Every single Wanderers corner seemed to end the same way as McGinn and Dawson jostled out of possession, with both players taking separate tumbles to try and catch the attention of referee Rob Jones. Rather ironically, it was actually two different battles within 60 seconds of one another that caused both players to go in the book. Dawson was cautioned for stamping down on Ollie Watkins’ heel and McGinn then pulled back Wolves winger Pedro Neto.

The hosts went agonisingly close to taking the lead just beyond the half-hour mark as Hwang Hee-chan played the ball hard and low to the near post and Rayan Ait-Nouri tried to convert it beyond Emiliano Martinez. The Algerian got a decent connection on it but not enough as the ball dribbled just wide of the far post. With his side unable to assert any control for a long period, Emery was raging on the touchline, berating a number of his players and desperately asking them to calm down. McGinn was brought over for a talking-to as Emery attempted to get his message across but Wolves didn’t allow Villa to settle, and proceedings were very stop-start right up until half time.

It was a much more open start to the second period as McGinn found space on the left and fired the ball into the area for Ollie Watkins. The striker, who recently signed a new long-term contract with the club, flicked the cross on with his right boot but Sa pulled off a remarkable dive to tip the effort over the bar. It was Wolves who broke the deadlock, however, as Hwang, who had just been downed for a few minutes with an injury concern, converted from a Neto pass. The Portuguese forward darted down the right and was given too much time by Pau Torres and Lucas Digne as he crossed for Hwang. The South Korean just had to poke it home to make it 1-0.

The Wolves lead lasted merely a few moments as Pau made up for his defensive frailty and earned his side a rapid equaliser, sending the away end into raptures. Watkins, over on the right side, lobbed the ball over to the far post where Pau was waiting to slide in and volley into the bottom right corner. Molineux was understandably fired back into life by the two goals and as were both teams as the feisty manner of the clash returned. Villa could hardly string together more than two or three passes at once as Wanderers chopped away at their heels, while Douglas Luiz was looked at – and then relieved – by VAR for a potential instance of violent conduct.

Wanderers missed a huge opportunity to retake the lead in the 78th minute as Hwang played substitute Sasa Kalajdzic down the left flank and the Austrian put a brilliant low ball into Neto at the far post. The cross, which was allowed by an out-of-position Ezri Konsa, evaded the entire Villa back line but Neto fluffed his lines, putting the ball high and wide of the net. Emery’s men were pegged back into their own half for a while afterward as Wolves pushed for a winner but 12 minutes of added time allowed for some late ventures into the opposition half. Watkins had a terrific opening as he advanced into the box but he was off balance and could only find the side netting.

Molineux was swiftly silenced in the 94th minute as Wolves midfielder Mario Lemina was sent off for a second bookable offence, pulling on the shirt of Nicolo Zaniolo. There was no argument from the hosts as the Gabonese was sent his marcher orders and Wanderers went down to 10 men. Villa were finally unleashed deep into added time and there were multiple opportunities to earn an incredibly late winner. Zaniolo was inches away as the Italian latched onto a loose ball at the far post but couldn’t quite direct it goalward and Konsa had a chance as Digne cut it back to the centre-back but his shot was saved by Sa. Watkins and Emery were then devastated as the striker hit the post with virtually the last touch of the game, heading onto the left side of the woodwork. Wolves were somehow able to hold on and the points were shared at an incredibly tense Molineux. Here are our Villa player ratings.

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