In one of the most open games of the Premier League season, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion have combined for six goals in 45 minutes, spectacular strikes combining with freakish fortune to send the rivals into the dressing rooms tied 3-3. And with both teams relentlessly challenging each other since the opening kickoff, the match seems destined to produce more goals after intermission, with neither side given any reason to relent in this shootout.
The scoring started in the fourth minute when a rocket from Chris Brunt beat Brad Guzan from 25 yards, giving West Brom at 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, a cross from James Morrison was redirect by Fabian Delph into his own goal, giving the visitors a two-goal lead before the 10-minute mark.
Over the next 28 minutes, however, Villa would fight back, eventually taking the lead. Andreas Weimann started the comeback by chipping Ben Foster after a Diego Lugano header inadvertently went toward the West Brom goal. In the 24th minute, Leandro Bacuna was the beneficiary of more randomness, with Matthew Lawton’s cross finding him at the left post after a West Brom tackle redirected a ball to the lingering right back. In the 37th minute, however, a Delph blast off the bottom of Foster’s bar gave Villa a fully earned goal, putting the home side up one.
That lead lasted six minutes before combination play from Victor Anichebe, Morrison, and Yousouf Mulumbu ended with the Baggies midfielder putting the equalizer inside Guzan’s left post, sending the sides into halftime tied, 3-3.
It’s an apt score after a half that saw both teams discard any intent to possess the ball, immediately turning up field to test their rivals with each new possession. Instead of passing backward or attempting to play around their opponents’ defense, the teams are electing to go through their opposition, with any loss of possession offset by the knowledge they’ll get the ball back in a few moments.
Whether both sides persist with this approach in the second half remains to be seen, but with Paul Lambert going against Pepe Mel, there’s every reason to believe these teams will continue throwing haymakers.