A goal from Jacob Ramsey, and an inch-perfect pass from Carney Chukwuemeka for an Ollie Watkins goal, saw Aston Villa run out victors at Carrow Road this evening.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to Carrow Road this evening, for a midweek affair against Norwich. In the opposition dugout, former manager Dean Smith lead the Canaries – who were looking to try and exit the relegation zone. Aston Villa captain Tyrone Mings made his 100th appearance for the club, starting as usual in his centre-back position.
Gerrard’s side started well, winning a corner in the opening seconds of the game before Ollie Watkins tested Tim Krul with a header from range just a minute later.
In the 8th minute, John McGinn tested Tim Krul from just under 40 yards away, forcing the Dutch goalkeeper into a save. Krul was forced to backpedal and tip the ball over his bar for a corner.
Aston Villa certainly looked sharper, and more confident in the opening 20 minutes, and much of the game was being played within Norwich’s half – with the ball consistently heading towards the home side’s goal. Much of the pressure Norwich faced was coming from Matty Cash and Matt Targett, with both playing very high up the pitch.
In the 34th minute, Aston Villa took the lead. Jacob Ramsey stole onto a loose ball at the halfway line, before running towards the Norwich box. His driving run saw Norwich defenders back away, before he found himself with just two players ahead of him. He mazed his run, took the ball onto his left and fired emphatically past Tim Krul before celebrating with the Aston Villa faithful.
Aston Villa continued to be dominant in the half, but in the final few minutes, Norwich did pick up some intent.
Despite their best efforts, however, Norwich would go in trailing at the break, thanks to a brilliant goal from Jacob Ramsey.
Both sides came out in the second half with neither side making changes. Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa would hope that they could play withy the freedom they had in the first half in the final 45 minutes of the game.
Norwich’s Max Aarons was booked in the 47th minute for dragging back Jacob Ramsey who looked to break away down the wing. Ezri Konsa was booked two minutes later for stopping Brandon Williams from taking a free kick and kicking the ball away.
Ollie Watkins had an opportunity at the back post in the 53rd minute, but the Aston Villa forward headed towards the bottom left of the goal where Tim Krul’s feet were rooted and the ‘keeper was able to block the ball away. Norwich’s Sam Byram was booked for a rash challenge on Tyrone Mings just 20 seconds later.
Steven Gerrard opted to make the first change of the game in the 60th minute, replacing the experienced Ashley Young with Danny Ings, who was still on the path to recovery after sustaining an injury.
In the 63rd minute, Norwich’s Brandon Williams at left-back was booked for pulling Matty Cash to the ground as he looked to break free down the wing.
For the next fifteen or so minutes, the game fell into somewhat of a lull. There were opportunities, for both sides, but neither ‘keeper was truly tested.
In the 82nd minute, Emiliano Buendia was taken off – struggling with a slight impact injury picked up ten minutes earlier, and was replaced by Carney Chukwuemeka.
Four minutes later, and Carney Chukwuemeka turned creator. The midfielder, who was out on the left, put in a lot of work – providing a great touch and holding off Billy Gilmour, before racing into the box and crossing across the face of the goal for Ollie Watkins to tap the ball into the back of the net.
The final change for Aston Villa came shortly after, with McGinn replaced by Axel Tuanzebe.
There were five minutes of added time at the end of the 90 minutes, before Aston Villa took all three points.