In a game of few chances, Aston Villa halted their run of four straight defeats with a hard thought goalless draw against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
Ashley Young replaced the injured Lucas Digne who is likely to be missing for the remainder of the season while Leon Bailey started ahead of Danny Ings who dropped to the bench. After the game, manager Steven Gerrard confirmed that the Jamaican earned his start after performing well in training over the past 10 days.
The game was a game of very few chances and not one many will remember for long but Villa will take the positives. A point on the road and a much clean sheet. Believe it or not, it was actually Villa’s first draw on the road this season.
Bailey had the opportunity to put Villa ahead inside the opening quarter of the game. Ollie Watkins showed great strength to get beyond Wesley Fofana but when he pulled the ball back, the Jamaican international side-footed his finish over the bar from 10 yards out.
Ezri Konsa has struggled for form this season and the centre-half will be grateful for Young beating James Justin to the ball inside the area after Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall got the better of him.
Leicester began to control the game but never really looked like a threat from opening play. James Maddison came close from a free-kick just before half-time but replays showed that it was never likely to trouble Emi Martinez.
To the home fans’ delight, Brendan Rodgers brought Jamie Vardy off the bench with 20 minutes to play. Villa fans know the striker too well with him only scoring more goals against Leeds United than Villa in his career.
Martinez made his first and only serious save of the day with 10 minutes left on the clock. Once again, Maddison from a free-kick but he was denied by the Argentine number 1 who pushed his effort wide and safe.
Villa finished the better of the two and substitute Emi Buendia came close with a curling effort from the edge of the box but in truth, the lack of attacking threat on show, from both sides, was never likely to see anyone break the deadlock.
Gerrard’s men move onto 37 points as they pick up their 10th clean sheet of the season.
- It was far from pretty but it was important we stopped the rot. Leicester may not have been great going forward, or Villa prevented them from creating anything. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, it’s a very good point on the road.
- 10 clean sheets – Given where we are at the table and if you listen to some of our supporters you would think we were relegated at Christmas, another clean sheet is something to be positive about. Hopefully, we can build on this when Dean Smith returns to B6 next weekend with his Norwich side.
- Our lack of attacking threat was poor. The players and money that has been spent on our attacking players should result in more. I don’t want to be too harsh on Bailey as I believe he needs a run in the team but we need more going forward.
- I am unsure if this is a bad thing or a frustration. We hear the manager belittle players and their performances and in most cases, deserved so. Yet, week in and week out he picks the same team. Going by comments I have read in various places, I know I am not alone when this is something I don’t understand.
Saturday, 30th April – 15.00 (GMT)
Villa Park, Birmingham