What went wrong for Aston Villa at Brentford?

Aston Villa squandered a first-half advantage and lost to Brentford, 2-1, away from home on Sunday afternoon.

Danny Ings opened the scoring in the 16th minute when he took a pass from Emi Buendia in stride and beat Álvaro Fernández from just inside the box.

Yoane Wissa brought the sides level in the 42nd minute, and a late goal from Mads Roerslev ensured Villa left London empty-handed.

Steven Gerrard’s side out-chanced Brentford in expected goals, 1.05 to 0.71, and deserved at least a draw. Here’s the low-down on why the Villans came away with nothing.

Villa paid for defensive miscues

Sunday’s first half was largely a clinic put on by Gerrard’s men who scored early, looked threatening, and kept the Bees at bay.

But a string of defensive lapses late in the half paved the way for Wissa to equalize with Brentford’s first true sight of Villa’s goal.

In the build-up, Matt Targett was pulled high, Douglas Luiz didn’t provide sufficient cover for the left back, Kortney Hause was beaten with a single pass, and Wissa was afforded too much space at the top of the box. A folly of errors leading to a goal that should never have come.

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Matt Targett of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Brentford and Aston Villa at Brentford Community Stadium on January 2, 2022 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Ben Peters/MB Media/Getty Images)

Hause, Targett, and Luiz were exposed on the winning goal, too. Luiz was pulled wide, Hause mishandled a deflection, and Targett, playing way too narrow, was beat out wide. Roerslev’s winner ultimately came off a rebound none of the Villa defenders could clear.

The gaffer said post-game “the second goal was too easy, a catalog of errors, and we were too passive.”

Lack of chances created in the second half

A late first-half goal was exactly what Brentford could have hoped for because it allowed them to sit back in the second and wait for a chance to score a winner.

Villa maintained possession in the second half but failed to create meaningful opportunities. Ings found space in between the three center backs in the first half but struggled to do so in the second frame.

Buendia was far less threatening as well, and Bertrand Traore was in vintage form, turning the ball over, giving it away, and holding on to possession too long.

The introduction of Morgan Sanson was meant to connect the defense to the attackers, but the Frenchman struggled to impact proceedings. Trézéguet also made a substitute appearance and did little other than flop in the Brentford box late in regulation.

A lack of goal creation was partially due to Villa’s subpar pressing in the final third. Villa were credited with 89 pressures on Sunday, their second-lowest total this season.