Aston Villa put five past giant-killers Norwich City away at Carrow Road this afternoon, seemingly making amends for previous game management issues.
Aston Villa XI: Tom Heaton [GK], Frédéric Guilbert, Bjorn Engels, Tyrone Mings, Matt Targett, Marvelous Nakamba, Conor Hourihane, John McGinn, Jack Grealish, Anwar El Ghazi, Wesley
Aston Villa faced Norwich City for the second time this calendar year, but with one key difference in the two sides – they are now both Premier League clubs.
Anwar El Ghazi was the first player in the game to register a shot on target at the ball fell to him on the right-hand side of the box but it was a easy save for Norwich’s third-choice keeper McGovern. McGinn had a chance himself shortly after but opted to shoot rather than play in Grealish or El Ghazi after Wesley’s press paid off.
The first five or so minutes were all Villa’s, but there was always a necessity to be wary of Norwich’s counter-attack which caught Aston Villa off guard once or twice.
It was Wesley who opened the scoring for Aston Villa after a disappointing performance against Burnley. He had been performing well to this point and found himself at the end of a high ball from Anwar El Ghazi, before chesting the ball down – leaving Norwich’s defence for dead – and burying the ball into the bottom left cooly.
Anwar El Ghazi forced McGovern into a save in the 25th minute as he attempted to fire from outside of the box. The resulting corner was headed towards goal by Wesley which caused a scramble as it bounced off McGovern’s chest and into a lurking Anwar El Ghazi – and his header crashed off the bar.
The chances were coming and going for Aston Villa. McGinn found himself on his favoured left foot and curled just wide in the 26th minute.
Brazilian number nine Wesley found his second on the half-hour mark as Aston Villa found themselves breaking from a poor Norwich pass. Hourihane found the ball from a Targett pass and broke near the Norwich left-hand post before playing it into Wesley to poke home.
Teemu Puuki was booked in the 32nd minute for dragging back Jack Grealish when the midfielder tried to break.
Aston Villa were awarded a penalty in the 37th minute as McLean dropped Conor Hourihane in the box – giving Wesley the opportunity for a first-half hat-trick. The Brazilian stepped up with his trademark slow run, but his shot was saved to the ‘keepers right before Wesley fired the rebound over the bar thanks to some pressure from McGovern.
John McGinn was booked for a late barge into Todd Cantell in the 43rd.
The two sides went in at the break, with Aston Villa leading with a two-goal advantage. Wesley had been the dominant force in this game to this point rather than the expected Teemu Pukki – who had managed only one shot and had almost half the amount of touches that Wesley had.
It only took four minutes in the second half for Aston Villa to grab another, as Marvelous Nakamba pounced on a loose pass, finding Jack Grealish who opened up space in the middle and passed wide to El Ghazi, who played the ball back to Grealish who opened his body up and side-footed it into the net. This was Jack’s first Premier League goal since his well-taken goal against Leicester in 2015.
Jack Grealish could have had a second a few minutes later, but it was Conor Hourihane who grabbed Aston Villa’s fourth, as Matt Targett’s press won the ball back. Hourihane nabbed the ball from Targett, who would have felt aggrieved had Hourihane missed, but the Irish midfielder curled a shot from outside the box into the back of the net.
Hourihane was booked directly after for a tussle with Max Aarons.
Frederic Guilbert was booked in the 68th minute for a rash challenge on Norwich’s Lewis.
Trezeguet then replaced Anwar El Ghazi, who had picked up his second Premier League assist of the season for Aston Villa’s first goal.
The 72nd saw Bjorn Engels fouled by Teemu Pukki in Aston Villa’s box, with the Belgian defender suffering from some pain on the floor for a few minutes. He was replaced by Ezri Konsa with fifteen to go for the defender’s first Premier League appearance. Norwich replaced Stiepermann with loanee Patrick Roberts shortly after.
Douglas Luiz found his way onto the pitch in the 77th minute, replacing goalscorer Conor Hourihane.
Previous Aston Villa games would have lead fans to believe that the side would have been happy with the 4-0 lead, but they weren’t. Douglas Luiz became the second Brazilian to score in the game with another stunning strike as Wesley found Douglas Luiz in acres of space before the midfielder teed himself up for a spectacular curler into the top right.
Norwich grabbed one back in the 87th as a high ball back from Tyrone Mings didn’t have enough on it – selling Heaton short and allowing Drmic to steal the ball from Tom Heaton with a lucky deflection and slot into an empty net.
Overall, a comprehensive victory for Aston Villa to dispel some of the myths and misery surrounding the club after previous results, and a great way to go into the international break.