Henri Lansbury

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Danny Drinkwater joins Aston Villa on loan

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Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater, desperate for playing time, has joined Aston Villa on loan for the remainder of the season.

The former Leicester City title winner joined Chelsea in the summer of 2017 but has made just five Premier League starts for the Blues.

Drinkwater had joined Burnley on loan this past summer but made just two appearances for the Clarets across all competitions, with the team conceding five goals to Man City and Sunderland while he was on the field. He also struggled through a two month injury spell after hurting his ankle in a nightclub fight.

“Danny was a key member of Leicester City’s title winning team and has represented England so he is a vastly experienced player,” said Aston Villa manager Dean Smith in the official team release. “He will strengthen our squad significantly.”

The 29-year-old is a boost for Aston Villa with key squad member John McGinn sidelined for three months with an ankle fracture. In his absence, Villa has rotated Henri Lansbury, Connor Hourihane, and Marvelous Nakamba as compliments to regular starter Douglas Luiz.

Aston Villa thumped by 10-man Watford

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Watford pummeled Aston Villa despite going down a man in a 3-0 win at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

The Hornets led 1-0 through Troy Deeney when Adrian Mariappa was sent off, and Deeney added another to go with an Ismaila Sarr goal.

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Watford moves three points back of safety with 16 points, two behind 18th place Villa.


Three things we learned

1. Pearson’s personality bleeding through: Watford was well in control of the match before the red card, which somehow further steeled them. The Hornets created five big chances to Villa’s one, and gave Watford fans plenty of reason to believe they’ll escape the drop zone soon.

2. Grealish, Villa all mixed up: Dean Smith has been under some heat despite a place in the League Cup semifinals and the delivery of Premier League promotion, and emotional captain Jack Grealish did him no favors by losing his focus on several occasions. The star was worried more about the referee than the play.

3. Deeney delivers again: Watford’s spirit animal was clearly a big absence for most of the season, and his brace was well-earned. He rarely does the things that amaze, but Deeney is consistently getting himself in scoring places and he sure can finish. He can be a huge part of any successful run.

Man of the Match: Deeney.


The first 24 minutes was missing the final pass, but a Watford giveaway gave Wesley a chance to nod a cross home. Ben Foster did well to save it.

Tom Heaton fumbled a ball that Abdoulaye Doucoure blazed over the goal in a rare bit of promise.

The Hornets went ahead when Deeney forced a turnover and Doucoure ripped a shot to force a parry out of Heaton. Deeney put the rebound under the keeper, sloppy but it counts.

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Mariappa complicated Watford’s task when he clattered into Henri Lansbury and collected a second yellow card.

Deeney earned a controversial penalty with a run into the box, and dispatched it into the goal for 2-0. Sarr added a third with a run into the 18, a deserved win.

Kodjia, Villa too much for Liverpool’s kids

Liverpool Aston Villa League Cup Kodjia
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Liverpool’s kids didn’t wilt against Premier League side Aston Villa in a League Cup quarterfinal at Villa Park, but were punished on the scoreboard.

The difference was clinical finishing in a 5-0 score line, as Liverpool fudged its first half chances in front of goal. The Reds youngsters saw Villa keeper Orjan Nyland make eight saves on the day.

The Reds trailed by four at halftime despite a 4-3 edge in shots on target.

Wesley Moraes scored Villa’s only goal.

VIlla will enter the semifinal draw with the winners of three Wednesday quarterfinals. Man City visits Oxford United, Manchester United hosts Colchester United, and Leicester City heads to Everton.

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Put in an unsavory position when Jurgen Klopp opted to bring nearly every healthy player with first team experience to Qatar for the Club World Cup, Liverpool’s kids were lively out of the gate. They showed their understandable immaturity on the stage in lacking the final ball over the first dozen minutes.

That’s when Villa took a bit of control and Hourihane spun his free kick into the goal, Jonathan Kodjia leaping to kick but missing a redirection bid to throw off keeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Henri Lansbury prodded an own goal for 2-0 when his cross was deflected to fool Kelleher, who clawed backward but couldn’t find the ball before it looped into the side netting.

Harvey Elliott showed his style with a delightful little chipped pass that Curtis Jones used to force a save out of Orjan Nyland. Elliott was very good on the day, with 90 percent passing and a shot on target. Captain for the day Pedro Chirivella also made a good impression.

It was 3-0 when Kodjia blazed past the Liverpool back line to slide a pass beyond the reach of a splayed Kelleher. The Ivorian added a goal before halftime.

That first 45 saw shots on target in favor of Liverpool by just 4-3. Problem is all of the on-target Villa attempts plus the o.g. went in the Reds goal.

Kelleher made a great save on Kodjia’s 60th minute hat trick bid.

Aston Villa bemused by late refereeing decision

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Aston Villa’s players, staff and fans all left Selhurst Park scratching their heads on Saturday.

Trailing 1-0 and down to 10 men, Villa thought they had equalized in the 96th minute through Henri Lansbury‘s strike.

But referee Kevin Friend has blown his whistle milliseconds before, as he gave a free kick to Crystal Palace for simulation against Jack Grealish.

On second viewing it appeared that Grealish was fouled both inside and outside the penalty box and the referee should have either played advantage or awarded a penalty kick. VAR wasn’t used in this situation, and Villa boss Dean Smith told the BBC after the game that he was confused as to why they goal wasn’t allowed to stand.

“We kept going until the end and in my opinion got a good goal. I’m not sure any of us know why the referee has given the decision,” Smith said. “We’ve all looked at it back and nobody can see why he hasn’t given the goal and given the free kick but we have to take it on the chin.”

Villa’s players were absolutely livid with Friend and Grealish was booked for simulation (first it was reported he’d been booked for dissent) as he remonstrated with the referee.

It was a bad decision by Friend, but his decision could not be reviewed by VAR as it doesn’t come under the four situations it can be used for: penalty kicks, a red card, a goal or mistaken identity.

You could argue that it could have gone to VAR over a penalty kick being awarded to Villa, as that was a pretty clear and obvious mistake.

There are still teething issues with VAR and Villa were on the wrong side of it on Saturday.

Palace beat 10-man Villa amid late drama

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Crystal Palace beat 10-man Aston Villa 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday, as the game finished in dramatic circumstances.

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Villa had Trezeguet sent off and Jordan Ayew sealed the win with a second half strike, but Villa thought they had equalized in the 96th minute but referee Kevin Friend had whistled seconds earlier for simulation by Jack Grealish, when the decision looked questionable. And that is putting it kindly.

Palace now have seven points on the board, while Villa have three.


3 things we learned

1. Referees have to let plays develop: Kevin Friend reacted too quickly to whistle Jack Grealish for simulation in the box, and VAR would have surely seen it as a clear and obvious error as Gary Cahill took down the Villa skipper in the box. Lansbury scoring has nothing to do with this. Friend should have let the play develop, then given a foul or a penalty kick had Lansbury not scored. Villa should feel very hard done by.

2. Palace still lack a proper finisher: Ayew and Zaha worked their socks off and Palace had five decent goalscoring chances in this game. They only took one and that is the real issue here, as they struggled to break down a dogged 10-man Villa. Roy Hodgson‘s side are solid as a rock, but they just lack a natural finisher.

3. Villa hamstrung by Trezeguet’s madness: Getting booked either side of half time, Trezeguet put his team up against it at Selhurst. The second challenge on Zaha was just plain silly and even though Villa didn’t play well at all, the Egyptian winger was instrumental in them not grabbing a point.

Man of the Match: Jordan Ayew – He scored the winner and worked so hard for the team. He is not a natural finisher at all, but he delivered a big three points for Palace who have now won back-to-back games.


Villa started off on the front foot and Douglas Luiz whipped a free kick over the bar.

Palace should have taken the lead after Jeffrey Schlupp found James McArthur in the box but he somehow sent his shot over form close range.

The Eagles went close again in the first half as Jordan Ayew slid in at the back post but couldn’t get on the end of a ball fizzed across the six yard box. Wilfried Zaha almost got on the end of another cross as Villa dropped deeper and deeper.

Luka Milivojevic‘s low free kick was then deflected and saved by Tom Heaton as Palace had the better chances in the first half.

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In the second half both teams sat back and looked to launch counter attacks, but Villa were reduced to 10 men as Trezeguet received his second yellow card for bringing down Zaha.

Palace were buoyed by their man advantage, and Milivojevic curled a shot from distance which Heaton pushed away superbly.

Ayew curled a shot over as Villa restricted Palace to efforts from distance, but the Ghanian forward scored the winner moments later.

Schlupp played in Ayew down the left and he cut inside, bundled his way through challenges and curled home to make it 1-0.

Villa thought they had snatched an equalizer in the 96th minute as Henri Lansbury slotted home, but referee Kevin Friend disallowed the goal as he had blown the whistle for an earlier foul by Grealish in the penalty box which looked like it should have gone the opposite way and been a penalty kick to Villa.

What a dramatic end to a fierce encounter.