It took three inspired substitutions to change things for an underperforming Aston Villa to help them collect all three points in a 3-1 victory over relegation battlers, Fulham.
Two goals from Trezeguet and a goal from England international Ollie Watkins were enough to see off Scott Parker’s side who were on top for a large majority of the game.
Dean Smith handed starts to Anwar El Ghazi and Morgan Sanson while Jack Grealish was once again ruled out through injury.
Pundit Graeme Souness accused some of Villa’s players of already being on their summer holidays following the performance and they will have to be much better when they head up to Anfield next week to take on Champions Liverpool.
With John McGinn further up the field, the press was more successful for the home side but their final ball was once again let them down, leaving Watkins isolated.
The only real talking point from the first half would have been the VAR controversy right on the stroke of half time. Watkins went down in the box and referee Andy Madley pointed to the spot.
Later replays suggested that Fulham’s Mario Lemina got his foot on the ball before making contact with Watkins. All well and good, but VAR failed to look at the foul on McGinn in the are just seconds before that decision. Nearly two years in with VAR and I still struggle to understand the thought process behind it.
The second half began as the first half finished and I couldn’t see where any goals were coming from. Both sides were really poor in the final third, a big problem for a much improved Fulham side.
One thing Villa have cut out this season is errors but for the second Premier League game running, an error gifted the opposition the lead.
Ezri Konsa passed the ball to Tyrone Mings who in turn tried to pass back to Emi Martinez but he miss-placed his pass and Aleksander Mitrovic picked up the loose ball before rounding the goalkeeper and giving the visitors the lead.
It took Villa 75 minutes for them to get their first shot on target through a long-range effort from Bertrand Traore. There second was to be more effective, however.
Looking to make amend for his mistake, Mings found himself further up the field and crossed a low ball across the goal where Trezeguet was able to slot home.
Just minutes later and the turn-around was complete. Keinan Davis did very well to rob Tosin and broke forward before crossing the ball and finding Trezeguet at the back post who doubled his tally and put Villa in the lead.
The game was all over with three minutes from time when Watkins got on the end of a Traore cross to give Smiths men all three points to give them their first win in five games. It was also the first time this season that Villa had come from behind to take all three points.
The defeat for Fulham leaves them in the bottom three, three points from safety.
As much as we are all glad to be back to winning ways, it was a performance that left a lot to be desired. Smith spoke about players needing a rest but based on the first hour or so, they were still on a break.
Fulham manager Parker stated he felt that his side were comfortable and threw the game away. Although they never looked liked scoring before that mistake, neither did we.
Credit where it’s due to Smith. I have been critical of the manager being unable to make the right changes and the system within a game but he got it spot on against Fulham.
We have Liverpool up next and we will need to perform a lot better than we did yesterday.
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