Emiliano Buendia went from villain to saviour as Aston Villa came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Burnley on Thursday.
Burnley crawled out of the relegation zone on goal difference as they held Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw in what could turn out to be a precious point in their quest for Premier League survival. The Clarets dug deep to collect a point for their courageous performance, and they will now begin the final round of Premier League fixtures outside the drop zone.
The away side stepped into the encounter with a clear game plan. Burnley used the same compact, stubborn rearguard that they used in their narrow loss to Tottenham, and they tried to hit the hosts on turnovers. Aston Villa, on the other hand, were dominant in their final home game of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign but were wasteful with their chances.
Midfielder John McGinn got off to a bright start and nearly opened the scoring for Aston Villa in the 17th minute with a curler from the edge of the box, but his effort was tipped over the crossbar by Nick Pope, who was a man possessed as he produced several spectacular saves on the day, making a massive eight saves.
Ashley Barnes gave the visitors the lead with a penalty right on the stroke of half-time, sending Emiliano Martinez the wrong way after Burnley were awarded a spot-kick for Emiliano Buendia’s clip-on Maxwel Cornet. The culprit, Buendia, made amends with an expertly taken finish right after the break to level things up.
Aston Villa 1-1 Burnley FT:
⚽ Barnes (pen)
⚽ Buendia 🅰️ McGinn
Burnley go into the final day level on points with Leeds but with a +20 better goal difference. pic.twitter.com/Ko4Y98VYOc
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 19, 2022
Villa then piled the pressure on the away side, pushing hard for a winner, only for Pope and a resilient Burnley backline to stand in their way. Despite Villa’s string of efforts and sustained pressure, it was Burnley who had the ultimate chance when Villa Martinez stopped a close-range effort from Connor Roberts before Tyrone Mings produced a telling block to deny Wout Weghorst a clear shot at the gaping goal five minutes from time.
All in all, it was a tense affair at Villa Park and while the result would not have made much of a difference to the Villans’ season, it has significant implications at the bottom of the table where Burnley are now locked in a head-to-head battle with Leeds United in a bid to maintain top-flight status after Everton heroically secured survival with a victory over Crystal Palace.
Emiliano Martinez: 6/10
Compared to how busy his counterpart was in the Burnley goal, Martinez had precious little to do, but he struggled to claim a couple of high balls as a sea of Burnley players came in his way. He was sent the wrong way for Ashley Barnes’s spot-kick. He did produce a couple of good stops, notably getting down low swiftly to deny Josh Brownhill and thwarting Connor Roberts at the front post late in the second period.
Matty Cash: 6/10
Another decent display from the right-back, who was not involved much in the defensive side of things but was purposeful going forward and eager to join up in attack. Though most of his attempted crosses were well blocked by Burnley’s Charlie Taylor, he kept battling away down the right flank to provide the width and earned Villa some corners.
Calum Chambers: 6/10
Getting the nod in the absence of Ezri Konsa, Chambers had a rather comfortable evening and was given the green light to push forward, with Burnley in a deep block. He skied a half-volley from about 12 yards out, while, on the other end, he dealt with the threat from Maxwel Cornet and pushed the Clarets’ danger-man wide in 1v1.
With just ten minutes remaining, he delivered a brilliant cross for Bertrand Traore, but Pope saved the winger’s header. Chambers took a nasty hit on the ankle in added time when Matt Lowton lunged into a challenge.
Tyrone Mings: 7/10
The Aston Villa skipper was sturdy and assured at the heart of the Aston Villa backline against Burnley as he dealt with the robustness of Ashley Barnes and made a superb block to prevent the visitors from escaping with all three points late in the second period. Mings also made a match-high eight clearances and won nearly all of his ground (4/5) and aerial duels (3/4).
Lucas Digne: 6/10
Digne was solid defensively and brilliantly prevented McNeil from making it 1-0 in the first half. While he delivered a few good balls into the opposition box, the Frenchman was not efficient enough, with most of his adventurous passes going astray.
John McGinn: 8/10
A brilliant game from McGinn, who was by far Aston Villa’s best player on the pitch. The Scotsman used his expertise as a box-to-box midfielder and was not afraid to let blast from outside the box. He also produced a measured pass to put it on a plate for Buendia to restore parity.
He came close to scoring twice as Pope brilliantly pushed two well-struck long-range attempts over his crossbar. He did a lot of other things too, completing three tackles, creating three key passes for those in front of him and winning all of his contested ground duels (7/7).
Douglas Luiz: 6/10
Slotting back in as a holding midfielder, the Brazilian looked much more comfortable and helped Aston Villa build from the back with his high volume of precise passes and touches. He also tried to get Villa moving up the field to some extent and made three key passes. Luiz did, however, gift the ball back to the opposition the most number of times (15).
Jacob Ramsey: 6.5/10
The Aston Villa Players’ Player of the Year, Ramsey showed great endeavour to push Villa forward whenever he received the ball and constantly asked questions of Burnley’s backline. The youngster, though, could not find the cutting edge in the final third and fired only one shot during the game. He put himself about performing the dirty work in the middle of the park, finishing with three tackles, three interceptions and winning four fouls.
Emiliano Buendia: 6.5/10
Buendia started the game in a positive fashion, floating around the pitch, connecting plays and trying to exploit those little pockets of space between the lines he found. But the Argentine playmaker was to be blamed for the penalty, falling into Cornet’s bait and tripping the buzzing Ivorian inside the box, which resulted in Barnes putting the visitors ahead.
Thank you for all the support during this season 🙌🏼 See you again at Villa Park next season 🦁 UP THE VILLA! pic.twitter.com/1t5qC6dgPK
— Emiliano Buendia (@EM10Buendia) May 19, 2022
The 25-year-old soon compensated for the error, though, netting his fourth goal of the season with a wonderfully executed volley just three minutes after the restart.
Carney Chukwuemeka: 5/10
Chukwuemeka struggled to get to grips with the game on his first start under Gerrard. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder did push forward on occasions with the intention of supporting Watkins in the box and had a few promising spells of possession. But he was hooked off inside the hour-mark, making very little impression on the game before that.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 19, 2022
Ollie Watkins: 6/10
Watkins had a rather quiet evening following his recent scoring streak. Despite being outnumbered and starved of service for much of the game, he managed to make his presence felt with persistent pressing and a couple of half-chances.
Bertrand Traore: 5/10
Traore was keen to carve out an opening with his exceptional ability on the ball, but he was a bit rusty, perhaps due to his constant niggling injuries this season. He arrowed a goal-bound header from Chambers’s cross, but Pope saved it excellently.
Philippe Coutinho: 6.5/10
Coutinho was excellent in his cameo as he added some much-needed flair to what was quickly becoming a lifeless Aston Villa midfield. He enjoyed some nice touches before churning out chances for both Watkins and Danny Ings.
Danny Ings: 6/10
Ings was introduced with ten minutes remaining, but he still fashioned a couple of great opportunities. He flashed a crisp effort wide with his first touch after linking up with McGinn before nearly coming back to haunt his former side when slipped in by Buendia late on, only for Pope to hold firm.