Aston Villa climbed out of the bottom three and sank Norwich City into it during a 5-1 defeat of the Canaries at Carrow Road on Saturday.
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Norwich has six points and sits 18th. Villa has eight and is up to 14th.
Three things we learned
1. The Villans will feel richly rewarded. Will they roll on? Perhaps no side has been less rewarded for performance this season than Smith’s men, including the remarkably silly officials’ decision at the end of the Crystal Palace match. The only shame is that Villa Park was unable to appreciate the moment.
Now can the Villa team feel a little unshackled, with their points meeting their performance for just a second time this season?
2. Mings the man early: Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings has consistently delivered for the newly-promoted side this season, beginning on Opening Day when he blocked every shot on Earth. He didn’t have a great second half at Carrow Road, but don’t sleep on what he did when the game was still in the balance.
Known before his time at Villa for being a big money buy with as many shocking tackles and injuries as good moments, Dean Smith has turned the center back into an England regular. And he is delivering, making an amazing recovery to stop a deflected effort from leveling the score at 1 shortly after Wesley put Villa in front, and then stopping Buendia’s rip in the 28th.
3. Shades of Benteke from Villa’s new big man: Remember for a moment that the Christian Benteke we saw at Aston Villa was unplayable at at times. Now a big Brazilian is conjuring up memories of the powerful yet deft Belgian, as Wesley scored his third and fourth goals of his Premier League career. The second was nothing special, just a center forward in the right place for a cutback, but the first showed the patience to not launch into a low header.
Man of the Match:
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Stiepermann’s long dribble looked set for a lay-off to Teemu Pukki, who started the move, but the former Borussia Dortmund man took a shot which deflected onto goal.
He’d take another chance off a corner kick, and end up with three attempts when the sequence ended without a goal. Aston Villa had taken the first three shots, Stiepermann the next three.
Wesley’s chest trap and clever finish of a cross onto the doorstep was a deserved opener for the Brazilian big man, who is recalling the early days of former Villa man Christian Benteke.
In-form Tyrone Mings that made a terrific goal line clearances to keep it 1-0 as Norwich threatened the goal.
Kenny McLean then caught Conor Hourihane’s run into the box to set up Wesley for a hat trick bid, but McGovern made a pair of saves after a slow run-up from the Brazilian.
The floodgates still opened after that, and Villa rightly deserved the three points.