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NorwichNorwich City1Aston VillaAston Villa5

Norwich City 1-5 Aston Villa: Visitors out of bottom three after superb display

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport
Wesley scores for Villa
Wesley had been criticised for his performance against Burnley but responded with two goals at Carrow Road

Aston Villa's club record signing Wesley showed his "massive" potential with a "colossus" display in the ruthless win at injury-hit Norwich City, says manager Dean Smith.

The 22-year-old striker scored twice as Villa moved out of the bottom three and leapfrogged their opponents in the Premier League table.

Wesley, who has been criticised by some Villa fans, opened the scoring with a neat control and finish, doubling the tally with a tap-in before missing a penalty.

Norwich continued to defend woefully after the restart, Jack Grealish allowed to sweep in a third to effectively end the home side's hopes.

Conor Hourihane and Douglas Luiz added more as Canaries boss Daniel Farke's 100th league game at the helm headed towards humiliation, before Josip Drmic tucked in a meaningless consolation which few inside Carrow Road even celebrated.

Villa's stunning win moved Smith's side up to 14th, with Norwich sliding down to third-bottom with their fifth defeat in six games.

"Wes was a handful for their two centre-halves, we got the ball into him, he kept it and it allowed us to break from him," Smith said.

"I thought he was a colossus up front."

Wesley goes some way to silencing the critics

Among many positives for Aston Villa, the £22m summer signing's performance was arguably the biggest plus-point.

The Brazilian arrived under the weight of a big price tag, and therefore much expectation, but had not bowled over many Villa supporters with his performances in the opening weeks of the season.

Social media, as often the case, was the main platform for criticism of his displays, particularly after Villa twice threw away leads to draw 2-2 against Burnley last weekend.

The level of discontent forced Smith to face questions about Wesley's pedigree going into the trip to Norwich, with the Villa boss urging patience towards the young player and backing him to become a success.

Wesley scores twice for Aston Villa
Wesley had six shots against Norwich, with only one (shown by the red arrow) missing the target

Scoring the two goals that put Villa on the path to a comfortable win certainly showed what he is capable of.

Allowed acres of space for both goals, Wesley coolly controlled Anwar El Ghazi's cross with his chest before slotting in the first and then evaded his marker to tap in Hourihane's low cross for the second.

A first hat-trick in English football evaded him, however, after a superb penalty save by Norwich keeper Michael McGovern.

The Northern Irishman, making his first Premier League start aged 35, dived low to his right to stop the spot-kick, reacting quickly to spread himself and push Wesley's shot on the rebound over the bar.

"He's a young player, he's only 22, he's been in Belgium for a year or two and then Slovakia before that. So it's a new culture, a new team a new group of players, and a big price tag," said Smith

"But he handles it well and I saw a big response from him this week."

Asked about the criticism, Wesley added: "I don't care about this. I keep calm, the manager and my team-mates know me. I will keep working hard and the goals will come."

Smith 'pleased' with 'convincing' Villa win

'Loads of things went wrong' - Norwich undone by dismal defending

Apart from the seismic home win over champions Manchester City, Norwich's return to the Premier League has largely been a difficult one.

The Canaries, who finished 18 points above Villa last season, did not have the spending power of their Midlands rivals in the summer and their hopes of maintaining momentum to quickly put points on the board have been hampered by intense injury problems.

Farke has more players in the treatment room than the changing room at the moment, with 10 first-teamers - including goalkeepers Tim Krul and Ralf Fahrmann - ruled out of the Villa match.

"If I am honest it is really difficult to repeat miracles on a weekly basis. We had too many problems for this game to be really there and gain some points," the German manager said.

"There were also so many players on the pitch who not able to train and had painkillers because we had no other options. Two or three key players didn't have the best game and if this comes together you will not be competitive."

Norwich 1-5 Aston Villa: Farke 'disappointed' after Villa loss

That meant third-choice stopper McGovern, the 35-year-old Northern Ireland international who spent all his career in Scotland before moving to Carrow Road three years ago, made his first Premier League start and he was left horribly exposed by his defence.

The home side were unorganised and lacked leadership at the back, leaving Villa players with too much time and space throughout, while also sloppy in possession when trying to play out from the back.

The thumping defeat means Norwich have conceded 21 top-flight goals this season, more than any other Premier League side.

"Losing any football game by conceding five goals is not very nice," Canaries skipper Ben Godfrey said.

"There are loads of things that we can go through about what went wrong, I'd be here all day if I go through every bit that went wrong. As you can see by the scoreline there was not a lot that went right.

"We will take a good look at ourselves."

Royal seal of approval for Villa

Prince William, Catherine and Prince George watch on at Carrow Road
Prince William is a long-time Aston Villa fan and that allegiance has been passed on to his son Prince George

Villa had not earned a Premier League away win in 21 matches - a run going back to August 2015 - and ended that joyless sequence with a performance that will live long in the memory of the travelling fans.

The Villa fans were in a jubilant mood throughout as Smith's side clinically brushed aside a team that came up from the Championship alongside them last season.

Prince William, one of Villa's most famous fans, was among the Carrow Road crowd as he watched with his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their young family.

Prince George was particularly impressed by Hourihane's slick finish, the six-year-old jumping around in his Villa T-shirt in celebration.

"I'll be getting them tickets for every game now if they need them," Villa manager Smith joked afterwards.

"I hope they can get here every game if that is what it needs, I might even get them on the team bus."

Man of the match - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Jack Grealish celebrates Aston Villa goal
It could have been one of several Villa players but skipper Jack Grealish was the heartbeat of his side's performance. Playing in a more advanced role, Grealish had more touches and made more passes in the Norwich half than any other Villa player, capping his display with the crucial third goal

Hourihane haunts Canaries again - stats of the day

  • Aston Villa scored five goals in a Premier League away game for the first time since April 2008 - a 6-0 win at Derby.
  • Norwich suffered their biggest home defeat in the Premier League since April 2012, when they lost 6-1 against Manchester City.
  • Aston Villa became the first promoted side to score five goals away from home in a Premier League match since Bolton at Leicester in August 2001.
  • Norwich (21) v Aston Villa (22) became the first Premier League match to see both teams have at least 20 shots since QPR (24) vs Swansea (25) in January 2015.
  • Jack Grealish's last six goals for Aston Villa in all competitions have been away from home. This was his first Premier League strike since September 2015 (v Leicester).
  • Conor Hourihane has been involved in seven goals in his last five league matches for Aston Villa against Norwich, four goals and three assists.
  • Norwich's Michael McGovern became the seventh goalkeeper to save a penalty on their first ever Premier League start, and the first since Neil Etheridge for Cardiff against Bournemouth last season.

What's next?

Norwich, who have lost all four away league matches this season, return to the road after the international break when they go to Bournemouth on Saturday, 19 October (15:00 BST).

Villa will look to build on this result when they host Brighton at Villa Park on the same day (15:00 BST).



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33McGovern
  • 2Aarons
  • 24Amadou
  • 4Godfrey
  • 12Lewis
  • 10Leitner
  • 23McLean
  • 17Buendía
  • 18StiepermannSubstituted forRobertsat 76'minutes
  • 14CantwellSubstituted forSrbenyat 80'minutes
  • 22PukkiBooked at 32minsSubstituted forDrmicat 84'minutes


  • 3Byram
  • 7Roberts
  • 20Drmic
  • 32Srbeny
  • 35Idah
  • 43Famewo
  • 60Mair

Aston Villa

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Heaton
  • 24GuilbertBooked at 70mins
  • 22EngelsSubstituted forKonsaat 75'minutes
  • 40Mings
  • 18Targett
  • 7McGinnBooked at 42mins
  • 11Nakamba
  • 14HourihaneBooked at 62minsSubstituted forDouglas Luizat 78'minutes
  • 21El GhaziSubstituted forTrézéguetat 64'minutes
  • 9Wesley
  • 10Grealish


  • 3Taylor
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 12Steer
  • 15Konsa
  • 17Trézéguet
  • 23Jota
  • 39Davis
Andy Madley

Match Stats

Home TeamNorwichAway TeamAston Villa
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Norwich City 1, Aston Villa 5.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Norwich City 1, Aston Villa 5.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ibrahim Amadou (Norwich City) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high following a corner.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Marvelous Nakamba.

  5. Post update

    VAR Decision: No card change Ezri Konsa Ngoyo (Aston Villa).

  6. Post update

    Foul by Dennis Srbeny (Norwich City).

  7. Post update

    Ezri Konsa Ngoyo (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Grealish.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Norwich City 1, Aston Villa 5. Josip Drmic (Norwich City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Moritz Leitner (Norwich City).

  11. Post update

    Wesley (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Max Aarons (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Frederic Guilbert (Aston Villa).

  14. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Michael McGovern.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Ben Godfrey.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Josip Drmic replaces Teemu Pukki.

  17. Goal!

    Goal! Norwich City 0, Aston Villa 5. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Wesley.

  18. Post update

    Emiliano Buendía (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Trézéguet (Aston Villa).

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Trézéguet (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Marvelous Nakamba with a headed pass.


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