Game | #5565 |
Season | 2019-20 |
Matchday | #23 |
League Game | #19 |
Manager Game | #61 |
Thursday, 26 December 2019
Premier League | Home | Norwich City | Villa Park | 41,289 |
Game Summary |
Manager | Dean Smith |
KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Chris Kavanagh |
HT Score | 0-0 |
FT Score | 1-0 |
FT Result | Won |
Last 5 Games | LLWLW |
Scorers | Conor Hourihane | 64' |
Assists | Jack Grealish | 64' |
League Position | 18th | - |
Team News |
Ezri Konsa was recalled to partner Kortney Hause in defence whilst Björn Engels relegated to the bench after a torrid game in the previous fixture, as was Frédéric Guilbert who was replaced by Ahmed Elmohamady. Marvelous Nakamba replaced benched Conor Hourihane whilst Trézéguet came in to replace the injured John McGinn.
Line Up |
GK Tom Heaton |
LB Matt Targett |
CB Ezri Konsa |
CB Kortney Hause |
RB Ahmed Elmohamady |
M Marvelous Nakamba | SUB OFF | 56' |
M Douglas Luiz | BOOKED | 89' |
M Jack Grealish | ASSIST | 64' |
W Anwar El Ghazi | SUB OFF | 90'+2 |
W Trézéguet | SUB OFF | 84' |
CF Wesley | BOOKED | 88' |
M Conor Hourihane | GOAL | 64' | for M Marvelous Nakamba | 56' |
W Jota | for W Trézéguet | 84' |
M Henri Lansbury | for W Anwar El Ghazi | 90'+2 |
Unused Substitutes |
CB Björn Engels |
RB Frédéric Guilbert |
CF Jonathan Kodjia |
GK Ørjan Nyland |
Yellow | Wesley for no apparent reason whatsoever | 88' |
Yellow | Douglas Luiz for kicking the ball away | 89' |
Team Stats |
Starting XI Average Age | 25.63 |
Substitute Average Age | 28.89 |
Oldest Player | GK Tom Heaton | 33.72 |
Oldest Outfield Player | RB Ahmed Elmohamady | 32.32 |
Youngest Player | M Douglas Luiz | 21.65 |
Not selected |
LB Neil Taylor |
CB James Chester |
GK Lovre Kalinić |
M Jacob Ramsey |
CF Cameron Archer |
Injury | 4 |
CB Tyrone Mings | 8 Dec - Late Dec |
GK Jed Steer | 25 Nov - 2020-21 |
CF Keinan Davis | 2 Nov - Late Jan |
M John McGinn | 26 Dec - Late Jun |
Loaned Out | 6 |
GK Matija Šarkić | Livingston | 1 July 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
CM Jake Doyle-Hayes | Cheltenham Town | 1 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
CF Rushian Hepburn-Murphy | Tranmere Rovers | 2 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
CF Scott Hogan | Stoke City | 7 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
RB James Bree | Luton Town | 8 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
CF Callum O’Hare | Coventry City | 22 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
Match Stats |
Possession F | 43
Possession A | 57
Shots F | 11
Shots A | 16
Shots on Target F | 2
Shots on Target A | 6
Corners F | 5
Corners A | 8
Fouls F | 15
Fouls A | 12
*Thursday, 26 December 2019*
*Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish said it felt as if they had “won a cup” as they beat fellow strugglers Norwich to end a four-match losing streak.*
Conor Hourihane came off the bench to score the only goal, laid on by midfielder Grealish, before Tom Heaton produced a fine save to deny Norwich substitute Onel Hernandez a late equaliser.
On their return to the Premier League this season, both sides came into Christmas in the relegation zone after going five games without a win.
And although Villa remain third-bottom, they are back within a point of safety while Norwich have slipped to the bottom of the table below Watford, who drew at Sheffield United.
“It was absolutely massive today,” said Grealish. “It almost feels like we’ve won a cup.
“It was a bit of a scrappy one but it was all about the three points. The record hasn’t been good but that was one for the fans today.
“In the warm-up we had a little chat and just said ‘we need to win’ - even a draw wouldn’t have been good enough.”
Norwich were more positive during the first hour, with Sam Byram’s header bouncing against the top of the crossbar, but within eight minutes of coming on, Irish midfielder Hourihane swept the ball in from one of Villa’s two shots on target.
Hourihane comes off bench to deliver Christmas cheer
Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat by Southampton saw Villa drop into the bottom three for the first time since beating Norwich 5-1 in the reverse fixture on 5 October. They also lost John McGinn to a fractured ankle as they lost to the Saints.
Villa are set to be without the influential midfielder for up to three months and Hourihane also dropped out of the starting line-up after Saturday, with manager Dean Smith making four changes.
And although Anwar El Ghazi twice went close before the break, for the first time at home this season Villa failed to record a single shot on target in the first half. They also looked susceptible to the counter-attack.
Norwich continued to look most likely to break the deadlock after the interval until the introduction of Hourihane, who swiftly showed he could be the man to ease the creative burden of Jack Grealish during McGinn’s absence.
El Ghazi came in from the left and found Hourihane, who played it first time to Grealish. Villa’s top scorer dummied past Alex Tettey, sticking the Norwich midfielder on his backside, before nudging it back to Hourihane and the Republic of Ireland international fired in his third Premier League goal of the season from just inside the box.
Villa were also indebted to Heaton for his late save - and to some dominant defending by centre-half Kortney Hause - but victory brought some much-needed Christmas cheer to the Villa faithful.
Despite being in the bottom three since losing to Villa in October, it’s not all been doom and gloom during the Canaries’ return to the top flight.
A 1-1 draw at Leicester 12 days ago saw them halt the Foxes’ winning run and they created more than enough chances to win during Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Wolves.
But they are now seven points behind fourth-bottom West Ham and manager Daniel Farke must be getting concerned at their inability to take advantage in games when they are on top.
They had the only three shots on target in the first half, while Byram hit the woodwork from an Emiliano Buendia corner.
Just after the interval, Norwich nearly scored from successive corners. Tettey had a shot cleared off the line by Douglas Luiz before Heaton did well to keep out Tom Trybull’s back-post header.
But then Hourihane struck and the best chance City had to equalise was Hernandez’s powerful half-volley from close range, which was too close to Heaton but the Villa keeper still did well to react and push the ball away.
The Canaries probably deserved a point but that will be of scant consolation to Farke as, with his side now past the halfway point this season, they need points not plaudits.
*Aston Villa manager Dean Smith:*
”It’s very precious. The fact that we’d lost four Premier League matches on the spin, you don’t come into this game with an awful lot of confidence.
“The three things I asked the players for were enthusiasm, attitude and application, and we got them. It wasn’t a classic performance by any means but we showed an awful lot of character out there as well.
“We’ve played better in games and lost. Today we took the chance that came our way and Norwich didn’t.
“You’ve got to be a good team-mate and a good squad member. Sometimes they play, sometimes they don’t, but what I want to see is a reaction when they come on the pitch and Conor did that with a really good finish.
“Sometimes a result like that can play you into form. We’ll certainly get better; this is the first look at the Premier League for a lot of our players and everything you get in this league you have to earn.”
Man of the match - Tom Heaton (Aston Villa)
Heaton is the first Villa goalkeeper to keep a Premier League clean sheet while also making at least six saves since Brad Friedel against Portsmouth in September 2009
*Thursday, 26 December 2019*
Conor Hourihane edges Aston Villa past Norwich in drop-zone battle
Aston Villa claimed all six metaphorical points against Norwich and will be grateful for every one as they earned the chance to take a deep breath and go again in their fight against relegation.
A second-half goal from the substitute Conor Hourihane was enough to decide the contest, bring an end to a run of five matches without a win and edge Villa to within one actual point of safety. For Norwich this defeat left them bottom, amid a now familiar tale of decent chances not taken.
Norwich played good football between the boxes, hit the bar, had two efforts cleared off the line and forced a wonderful stop from Tom Heaton at the last. Villa may have been more prosaic but showed admirable guts to keep competing in front of a restive crowd. And Dean Smith’s decision to bring on Hourihane, eight minutes before he scored, proved to be the game’s decisive moment.
“Getting three points is the big thing,” Smith said afterwards. “With our recent run of results and performance I asked for three things: attitude, application and enthusiasm. My players gave me that and showed a lot of character as well. We weren’t at our best by any means, but it can be a massive result for us.”
Smith said Hourihane’s introduction had been a defensive move, with the aim to shore up possession in midfield. “I just felt Marvelous Nakamba had given the ball away a few times and knew Conor could protect it. But he also did what he does best, which is scoring goals.”
The goal came from one of Villa’s best moves, an exchange of passes between Anwar El Ghazi and Jack Grealish initially creating space on the left. The Villa captain, who gave an excellent, authoritative performance, used the opportunity to make his way into the box. He sent Alex Tettey to the floor with a drop of the shoulder before picking out Hourihane. The Irishman needed no second invitation and calmly swept the ball inside the far post.
Daniel Farke was furious as the goal went in. The Norwich head coach was convinced that the goal was made possible by a bad decision by the assistant referee some 30 seconds earlier, when a Norwich throw-in was awarded to Villa. The German said he did not want to talk about the incident, perhaps wary that it might be seen as sour grapes, but he still went on at length.
“The only moment we were not switched on was after a clear and obvious mistake from the referee,” Farke said. “I think the situation was clear, Perhaps the only people who thought it the other way was the referee and the assistant.”
Farke’s appeals during the match were surely an attempt to get VAR involved but they were ignored. He also bemoaned an absence of penalty‑box quality as fine lines again proved decisive. Sam Byram hit the bar with a header in the first half and, in the second, Douglas Luiz made a brilliant goalline clearance from Tettey before Heaton’s save from the substitute Onel Hernández was even better. But the sense that Norwich were about to score never really hung in the air.
City host Spurs on Saturday while Villa travel to Watford for another relegation match-up. “This was a tough match between two struggling sides,” Smith said. “Everything you get in this division you have to earn.”