Aston Villa beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor on New Year’s Day as Dean Smith‘s side put in a battling display to grab a crucial three points.
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First half goals from Wesley and the superb Jack Grealish were enough to win it for Villa, who had Wesley and goalkeeper Tom Heaton stretchered off late in the game. Chris Wood pulled one back for Burnley but it wasn’t enough as Villa secured their second win in their last three Premier League games.
With the win Villa move on to 21 points as the relegation scrap is now wild, as Burnley sit just three points above them on 24.
3 things we learned
1. Grealish is the real deal: He led by example with a superb goal and assist but it was the other stuff which was almost as important. Grealish ran his socks off and Villa needed him big time. The skipper was superb and his extra quality is capable of keeping Villa up.
2. Injuries pile up for Villa: Wesley and Heaton are big players for Villa and even though Smith will be delighted to get a win it came at a big cost. Just as Tyrone Mings returned from injury he has now lost his best striker and goalkeeper. Let’s see how Villa cope with this.
3. Sluggish Burnley slumping: Three defeats on the spin over the festive season suddenly has Burnley in a proper relegation scrap. A few weeks ago it looked like they would finish in the top 10 but things change very quickly and a sluggish first half cost Sean Dyche‘s side dear.
Man of the Match: Jack Grealish – He was everywhere. Set up the first, scored the second and when Villa needed him in the second half he ran with the ball to try and take the pressure off.
In a tough battle Grealish took an early whack from Jack Cork in midfield as Villa dug deep early on.
From a corner Burnley could only have clear and Konsa crossed for Grealish to head home but VAR intervened to first check a foul and then offside in the build up, as Wesley’s heel (half of it) was offside and the goal was ruled out.
Dwight McNeil and Chris Wood were off target for Burnley as the hosts struggled to impose themselves on the game.
Villa got the goal their dominance deserved as Grealish and Wesley combined to see the latter squeeze an effort past Pope and in to make it 1-0 and score his first PL goal in almost three months.
Before half time Grealish scored a stunner to double Villa’s lead as their star man cut inside and smashed home to delight the away fans at Turf Moor.
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Villa should have wrapped up the win at the start of the second half but Luiz shot straight at Pope, as Burnley brought on Jay Rodriguez at the break to try and get things going in attack.
Rodriguez had a shot deflected wide from a corner then somehow knocked James Tarkowski‘s cross over from close range.
Burnley dominated and peppered the Villa goal as Heaton flapped at a cross which flew just wide.
Kortney Hause couldn’t make the most of a glorious effort at one end then Chris Wood fired wide at the other and Tyrone Mings then stopped him going clean through as the game opened up.
Wesley was carried off on a stretcher late on after suffering a nasty injury in a huge blow for Villa.
Then it got worse as Wood got his goal late on with a fine header to set up a tense finale.
Former Burnley goalkeeper Heaton was then carried off on a stretcher as he was struggling with a leg injury throughout but Villa held on for a huge win despite late pressure from Burnley.