first_imgDespite stiff competition, Aston Villa are staking their claim to be the Premier League’s most frustrating team. They will trouble most opponents with their expansive, insistent approach and in John McGinn they have a midfielder playing as well as anyone in the division. But their return to the top flight has brought with it a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot and it showed again here, an exhilarating first 45 minutes followed by a patchy second that handed the initiative to a typically belligerent Burnley.The visitors deserved their point, coming from behind twice through Jay Rodriguez and Chris Wood. Villa never quite dealt with their half-time switch to 4-3-3 and their sloppiness after the break was wearyingly familiar.Last Sunday they shrank in the final 30 minutes against a 10-man Arsenal and were punished; they lost a lead on the opening day at Tottenham, too, and Villa, who remain in the bottom three, need to start seeing games out if they are not to develop a complex.“There’s no mental block, that’s for sure,” said Dean Smith. “We’ve dominated a team people find it a real struggle to play against.” 11 McNeil Reuse this content 39 Davis But it never pays to discount Burnley. Within two minutes they levelled again when Wood, running between Guilbert and Bjorn Engels, thundered a header past his former teammate Tom Heaton.“The biggest thing of all was the mentality of our players,” said Dyche.Burnley know how to make that compensate for their failings; Villa still need to discover the kind of steel that would make them a truly formidable proposition. 18 Westwood 6 Mee 12 Brady Substitutes Pinterest 25 Lennon Read more 42 58 5 Tarkowski Share on Pinterest BUR42AVL58% Goal attempts 13 Aston Villa Off target 7 Burnley 3 Aston Villa On target 3 Burnley (s 46′) Burnley Fouls Share on Twitter Luka Milivojevic and Andros Townsend score as Crystal Palace beat Norwich 23 Pieters 1 Heaton 26 Bardsley 18 Targett (s 83′) Share on Messenger 7 McGinn 11 Nakamba match reports 14 Gibson 9 Wesley 2 Lowton Eight minutes later they were allowed to hold on to their emotional high, Anwar El Ghazi neatly helping Frédéric Guilbert’s delivery past Nick Pope for the lead Villa merited.“As good as we’ve played this season” was how Smith described Villa’s first half but thereafter they were drawn into Burnley’s preferred pattern. In Sean Dyche’s words, the match turned into “a bit of a ding-dong”.The more frayed and fractured it became, the more an equaliser seemed inevitable and it arrived in the 68th minute when Rodriguez, who had come on for the injured Jack Cork at the break, got a run on the Villa substitute Neil Taylor and nodded in firmly.Villa were floundering but gathered themselves to regain the lead through McGinn, who was a force of nature from beginning to end. The Scotland international looks the complete package of tenacity, timing and precision; when he controlled his far-post volley well enough to beat Pope it seemed they might have left it late enough to see the game through without incident. Corners Facebook 6 Douglas Luiz Share on WhatsApp The Observer Share on Facebookcenter_img 4 Cork 14 Hourihane Substitutes (s 88′) Aston Villa Share via Email 15 Konsa That was certainly true early on and Villa could have been more than one up at the interval. They took near-total control once Conor Hourihane and Dwight McNeil had traded left-foot free-kicks against the woodwork early on and thought they had scored when McGinn turned in the former’s cross.It was not until Burnley were preparing to restart that VAR correctly decided Hourihane had strayed offside. Having exploded, the home supporters seethed, the length of the decision‑making process a bigger issue than the reasoning. 17 Trezeguet 10 Grealish Share on LinkedIn Premier League 13 Hendrick (s 62′) (s 70′) Lineups 1 Pope Match stats 12 Steer 3 Taylor The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. 9 Wood 40 Mings 20 Hart Twitter 7 Gudmundsson Topics 21 El Ghazi Aston Villa Jack Grealish in action for Aston Villa. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images Burnley 22 Engels 23 Jota 10 16 24 Guilbert Possession 10 Barnes 7 3 19 Rodriguez BUR AVLlast_img

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