As Aston Villa’s trip to Burnley loomed, I can’t say I was confident. Burnley has always felt like a bogey side for Villa. When I expressed my thoughts on Twitter earlier in the week, I was reminded that it depends on how you look at things.
The last time Villa beat Burley at Turf Moor was 1959. During that time, we have played each other at Burnley 16 times but when you actually look at it from a different perspective, Villa have only lost 2 in the last 10 meetings in all competitions against the Clarets.
Anyway, let’s get onto yesterday’s game, Steven Gerrard opted to make 4 changes to the side that beat Norwich last weekend with one eye on Villa’s Premier League run-in as they play 5 times in the final 15 days.
Douglas Luiz returned to the side as Jacob Ramsey was ruled out through injury. Calum Chambers moved forward into the defensive midfielder role and Ezri Konsa came into the defence. Danny Ings replaced the injured Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia was handed a start ahead of Phillipe Coutinho.
The shuffle around was effective as we got to witness one of Villa’s best performances on the road under Gerrard as they blew relegation-threatened Burnley to one side.
The home side were given a warning after just four minutes when Buendia flicked Lucas Digne’s long ball into the path of Ings whose effort went wide of the post.
They made no mistake just three minutes later though when Buendia and Ings linked up again as the Argentine played a through ball for the former Burnley striker who slotted past Nick Pope.
Villa looked in control but the home side did threaten Emi Martinez’s goal and on another day, it could have been so different.
One of Burnley’s issues this season have been their lack of goals and it was highlighted when Wout Weghorst sent two efforts wide of the Villa goal.
Gerrard’s men doubled their lead just past the half-hour mark with another well-worked manoeuvre.
Matty Cash’s cross from the right-wing found Ollie Watkins, who exchanged passes with his striking partner Ings before laying off for Digne to pick out Buendia with a low cross. Buendia side-footed the ball past Pope with a deflecting off James Tarkowski.
The home side’s afternoon went from bad to worse just after half-time with their skipper being forced off the pitch injured and then Villa made it three.
Digne picked up the ball in the middle of the pitch before releasing John McGinn who sent over a delicious cross for Watkins who headed home for the cherry on the cake for the Villans.
The only disappointment on the day came when Burnley counter-attacked late on and substitute Maxwell Cornet made it 1-3.
Villa are now unbeaten in three and face title-chasing Liverpool at Villa Park in mid-week.
- Despite a sloppy start, Calum Chambers looked very comfortable in his new number 6 role. It should hardly be a surprise given he was voted Fulham’s player of the season a few years back playing in the role.
- Douglas Luiz looked back to his best as he played a more forward role. I have made no secret about my being a big fan of the Brazilian and I hope the club are able to find a way of keeping the former Manchester City midfielder at Villa Park.
- Emi Buendia was the best player on the pitch. He stood up and took his opportunity with both hands. Everything Villa did go through the Argentina international and he was also able to get himself a goal and assist.
- There weren’t many negatives on the day but concerning late on was a disappointment. Martinez eluded to it on his social media page and it’s another piece of the jigsaw that we need to find.
Aston Villa v Liverpool
Tuesday, 10th May 2022 – Kick-Off: 20.00
Villa Park, Birmingham
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