Aston Villa 4-1 Wolves: Steve Bruce's side thrash league leaders at Villa Park
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 10/03/18 8:45pm
An unforgiving Aston Villa dealt Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolves a second defeat in three games with a 4-1 thrashing at Villa Park on Saturday evening.
Villa took the lead after eight minutes when Albert Adomah poked over the line from close range after Danny Batth's sliced clearance, but Wolves soon found a way back as Diogo Jota bundled home his 14th goal of the season.
James Chester tucked home Robert Snodgrass' free-kick to restore the lead for the home side, before Lewis Grabban scored for the fourth game in succession as he turned home Adomah's cross from the left.
Ruben Neves replaced Romain Saiss in the Wolves midfield, with Mile Jedinak and Jack Grealish starting ahead of Glen Whelan and Scott Hogan for Steve Bruce’s men.
Substitute Birkir Bjarnason added the gloss five minutes from time to move Villa to within four points of the automatic places, while Nuno Espirito Santo's side stay three points clear of second-placed Cardiff.
The electric atmosphere seemed to kick the hosts into gear but they took the lead thanks to a hint of good fortune. Batth made a hash of his clearance from Mile Jedinak's header and Adomah prodded an effort goalwards that Barry Douglas could not keep from crossing the line.
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Wolves upped their game almost immediately and were invited to advance by Steve Bruce's men, who had gained the vital early advantage, but after 20 minutes parity was restored.
Matt Doherty raced down the right flank, nutmegged Neil Taylor and delivered a simple ball into the area for the onrushing Jota; Chester couldn't divert the ball away from the Portuguese's feet and he squeezed the equaliser past Villa stopper Sam Johnstone.
The tie adopted a scrappy tone after the break and from Ruben Neves' questionable challenge on Snodgrass, the hosts reclaimed the lead when Chester turned the Scot's free-kick home, notching his second goal in two games in the process.
Aston Villa: Johnstone (7), Elmohamady (7), Chester (7), Terry (7), Taylor (7), Snodgrass (8), Jedinak (7), Hourihane (7), Adomah (9), Grealish (8), Grabban (7)
Subs: Bjarnason (7), Lansbury (5), Hogan (n/a)
Wolves: Ruddy (5), Boly (5), Coady (6), Batth (5), Doherty (6), Douglas (6), Neves (6), N'Diaye (5), Jota (5), Cavaleiro (5), Bonatini (5)
Subs: Afobe (5), Saiss (5) Costa (5)
Man of the match: Albert Adomah
Grabban made it three when he overpowered Willy Boly to convert Adomah's cross from close range, before Neves had a stonewall penalty shout waved away as Snodgrass raised an arm to block his free-kick.
A penalty could potentially have swayed the momentum of the game, but luck was not in Wolves' favour on Saturday evening and five minutes before the whistle, Bjarnason rounded off the victory when he picked up Henri Lansbury's pass, danced forward and swept a fourth past John Ruddy.
Man of the match - Albert Adomah
The Villa winger is enjoying a superb season under Steve Bruce as his side battle for promotion to the Premier League and played an influential role in this unprecedented rout, scoring the first goal before delivering the cross for Lewis Grabban to score the third.
The Ghanaian's strike also marked his 15th goal in all competitions this season - a personal best return.
Steve Bruce: "Over the last two to three months in particular, the whole team has produced some terrific performances away from home, but to cap it off tonight against a very decent Wolves team was terrific for everybody.
"All of a sudden we've got a goal threat all across the team...we've taken our chances, in a big game you have to take your chances. The neutrals might have enjoyed that, but every Villa fan is going to enjoy it more."
Nuno Santo Espirito: "We weren't good enough, not focused enough in the situations that we should be and we lost the game.
"Set-pieces bother me a lot and I think we should look at that and make a good analysis like we all do, but it's clearly poor defending on set-pieces."
Both sides are in action on Tuesday evening after their fixture list was disrupted by the Beast from the East - Steve Bruce's men host QPR at Villa Park, while league leaders Wolves welcome Jaap Stam's struggling Reading.