Nathan Redmond, Leroy Fer

Lineups and Discussion: Norwich City vs. Aston Villa

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It’s just their fifth game of the Premier League season, but it’s already a big game for Aston Villa as they travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich (7:45 a.m. ET; watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra).

The Villans surprised in the first round, beating Arsenal on day one. Had a bit of luck gone their way, they may have taken a point against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but Villa still had tongues wagging about their impressive play. Even against first-place Liverpool, Paul Lambert’s side hung in there, never looking like they were the David fighting an insurmountable Goliath.

Then came last week, at home to Newcastle. The Villa were dreary, stagnant, and stale against a revived Newcastle side, who easily trotted out the 2-1 winners. To avoid subjecting fans to a third straight season fearing the drop, Aston Villa are going to have to turn it around this week against Norwich — or the bedsheets just might start coming out. Unfortunately, Lambert faces a bit of an injury crisis at the back, with Jores Okore ruled out for nine months. Fortunately he’s still got seven, yes seven, healthy forwards, so there will be no backing away from an attacking style of play.

Norwich aren’t doing so hot themselves, having earned just a point more than Villa, a result of week one’s 2-2 draw with Everton. Unfortunately for the Canaries, they’ve scored just one goal since, in their win over Southampton. That victory was sandwiched between two losses, a 1-0 away to Hull City and a less surprising 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur last week.

Chris Hughton is looking to rectify his side’s goal deficiency, promising to put more oomph behind the attack. The Norwich manager will be looking to summer signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel to provide the goals, but the supporting cast are going to need to do much better at creating chances for the forward. If the Canaries manage to gel this week, expect a bit of a thriller, with plenty of chances at both ends.

Norwich City Starting XI: Ruddy; Martin, Bassong (c), Turner, Garrido; Snodgrass, Howson, Fer, Redmond; Elmander; van Wolfswinkel

Aston Villa Starting XI: Guzan; Bacuna, Clark, Vlaar (c), Luna; Delph, El Ahmadi, Tonev; Weimann, Agbonlahor, Benteke

WATCH: Carrasco levels Champions League final, finds partner for long kiss

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28:  Yannick Carrasco of Atletico Madrid celebrates afte scorig the equalizing goal during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
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Milan on a starry night sounds romantic. Add in a massive match-tying goal, and it was all too much for Yannick Carrasco.

The 22-year-old Belgian attacker got on the end of Juanfran‘s cross and beat Keylor Navas at the near post.

[ MORE: Griezmann’s PK miss ]

In celebration, Carrasco raced toward a pitch side suite and into the arms and lips of what we presume is his partner for a gift that must count as much as a few dozen roses (but probably smelled much worse).

WATCH: Griezmann misses Torres-won PK in huge Champions League moment

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid speaks to head coach Diego Simeone during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Frankly, Antoine Griezmann embodied the Atletico Madrid attack in the first half, so it was no surprise when he stepped up to the penalty spot early in the second half.

Fernando Torres had won a penalty kick from Pepe after the Portuguese back stamped on his ankle in the 46th minute, and Greizmann got Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas going the wrong direction before cranking the ball off the bar.

[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]

The miss looms large.

Argentine star Messi leaves Honduras match with back injury

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  (L-R) Jose Juan Vazquez #23 of Mexico and Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina during a international friendly at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi left the field with a back injury in the second half of a 1-0 victory over Honduras in a friendly Friday night.

The Argentine team captain and Barcelona star was hit on an apparently inconsequential play and immediately went to the locker room. He was replaced at the 62-minute mark by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega and never returned to the field.

“Messi suffered a trauma to the left side of his lower back and rib cage,” the Argentine Football (Soccer) Association said in a statement, adding that doctors were looking at the injury.

[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]

Messi is not a player who leaves the field with minor injuries like he did Friday at San Juan’s Bicentenario stadium.

“I would not dare to venture a diagnosis,” said a concerned Argentine manager, Gerardo Martino.

Gonzalo Higuain, who scored for Argentina, said it “was an important win and here’s hoping that what happened to Leo is nothing.”

Messi was scheduled to fly to Spain to resolve a tax issue and then rejoin the team in Santa Clara, California.

Hull City secures PL position next season

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Ross Wallace of Sheffield Wednesday make a break during Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final match between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Mohamed Diame was the hero on the day for Hull City, as the Tigers gain promotion to the Premier League next season.

The Senegalese attacker sent Sheffield Wednesday packing on Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium after hitting a scorching long-distance effort past goalkeeper Kieren Westwood in the second half.

After an initial back-and-forth spell of chances over the opening half hour-plus, Sheffield was drastically taken out of the match as Hull began to gain their composure on the ball.

Hull City will join Championship winners Burnley and Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2016-17 after being promoted. Relegated clubs Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa will take their place in England’s second flight.

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