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Wild 3-goal comeback sees Aston Villa remain in playoff hunt

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Aston Villa remained within striking distance of the Championship top six with a bonkers three-goal comeback to earn a 3-3 draw against third-placed Sheffield United.

A hat-trick from Billy Sharp had Sheffield 3-0 up just past the hour mark, but the home side was not finished at Villa Park, with three goals in the final eight minutes-plus from Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham, and Andre Green sealing the remarkable comeback.

Sharp’s goals were all too easy, with the third capping off the comedy of errors in the 62nd minute as he remained remarkably open at the back post to head home a lofted cross by Kieran Dowell. From there, however, Aston Villa completely turned things around.

With the home side turning on the afterburners, Villa out-passed Sheffield in the attacking third 57-24 and out-crossed the visitors 14-0. They got on the board in the 82nd minute as Mings headed in a corner from close range, and bagged the second four minutes later as he tapped in the rebound of a saved Glenn Whelan free-kick.

Finally, with time winding down, Villa equalized in the fourth minute of stoppage time as John McGinn latched ontoJack O’Connell’s whiffed clear and sent in a right-footed cross from just outside the six-yard box. Green rose high above his defender George Baldock, and headed into the back of the net as Villa Park exploded.

The draw pulls Aston Villa within three points of a playoff position, although they have played two games more than most teams directly above them. For Sheffield, the dropped points are enormous, as a win would have brought them above both Norwich City and Leeds United into the Championship lead on goal differential. Instead, they remain in third two points back.

Mings won’t face suspension for bloody Oliviera injury

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Tyrone Mings‘ return to the stamping plant is not going to cost him further punishment.

Mings left Reading striker Nelson Oliveira‘s face a bloody mess in Aston Villa’s 0-0 draw at the Madejski Stadium this weekend.

[ MORE: Top Six fixtures, side-by-side ]

After getting tangled up at midfield, Oliveira was face-up on the turf as Mings brought his foot down squarely on the Reading player’s face.

The pictures, which you can find elsewhere, show Norwich City loanee Oliveira as a bloody mess with three deep cleat marks in his face. Those scars will be visible next time you see him in action.

The Aston Villa man, 25, is on loan from Bournemouth, and has been given little benefit of the doubt due to his history. You’ll probably remember Mings receiving a five-match ban for stepping on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s head in a 2017 Premier League match between Manchester United and Bournemouth.

Mings, who has been defended by some Villa fans for being off balance and not looking at the stamp the same way some Cherries’ support backed him two years ago, will not face any more discipline because the referee saw the incident and did not proffer a card.

He is a fortunate, fortunate man.

Aston Villa hires Smith, names Terry assistant

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Aston Villa has found its replacement for Steve Bruce, and he’s added a notable alumnus to his staff.

Dean Smith is the club’s new head coach, and he’s tabbed Chelsea legend and recent Villa center back John Terry as assistant coach. Jesus Garcia Pitarch has been named sporting director, having held similar positions at Atletico Madrid and Valencia.

[ MORE: 1 year on from USMNT’s dark day ] 

Villa’s press release notes that Smith is a lifelong fan of the club, and his resume features stops at Walsall and Brentford.

Terry had been rumored for moves to multiple clubs in continuing his playing career, but instead takes his first steps in management.

“John is one of the most decorated players in English football, has an affinity with the club and is ready to make the next step in his career working alongside Dean,” said CEO Christian Purslow.

Villa is 3W-6D-3L to start the Championship campaign, four points back of the final playoff spot.

As an odd aside, Smith’s son is a standout player at NCAA D-II side Limestone. He sounds pretty excited, as you’d expect.

Report: Faria, Terry may take charge at Aston Villa

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Rui Faria and John Terry worked together at Chelsea for many years and it appears they could be getting the band back together.

A report from Sky Sports states that Faria and Terry are being lined up by Aston Villa as their head coach and assistant manager respectively, with the long-time assistant manager for Jose Mourinho out of work since he left Mourinho’s side over the summer.

Yet separate reports suggest that Faria was happy to be offered the Villa position but is happy enough to spend time away from the game with his family.

Terry, 37, announced his retirement as a player just a few days ago (he played for Villa last season as they lost in the playoff final, coming up one win short of promotion back to the PL) and it is believed he is in the running to take on the vacant manager position at Villa after Steve Bruce was fired.

However it now appears that Terry is instead being lined up as an assistant coach, with previous reports stating he could link up with Thierry Henry in a managerial dream true. Henry is now expected to be handed the AS Monaco job, leaving the Villa position open for Terry, and Faria, to take on.

Faria, 43, was Mourinho’s assistant for 16 years, moving with him from Porto to Chelsea to Inter Milan and Real Madrid, before then heading back to Chelsea and being alongside him at Manchester United. He is represented by super agent Jorge Mendes, with the latter advising Villa in their search for a new manager. Faria worked closely with Terry twice, with the former Chelsea captain winning three PL titles with Faria as his assistant coach. These two know how to build successful teams and win trophies but given the resources at Villa and the unpredictable nature of England’s second-tier, this isn’t an easy job. At all.

Despite its obvious size as a club and Villa’s new Egyptian owners promising to spend what they can under Financial Fair Play restrictions, the lack of interest in this position sums up where the club is at right now.

Bruce assembled an experienced yet ageing squad and although Jack Grealish is talented, Villa face a bit of an uphill battle just to be among the promotion candidates in the Championship this season.

With Derby County hiring Frank Lampard to lead their promotion charge, plus Leeds United going well under Marcelo Bielsa, West Brom flying under Darren Moore and Tony Pulis plugging away at Middlesbrough, Villa are already nine points off the automatic promotion spots.

Add on top the expectation levels from home fans at Villa Park and this is a tough, tough job.

Reports: Aston Villa fires Steve Bruce

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Days after traveling Aston Villa supporters chanted “you don’t know what you’re doing” at Villa manager Steve Bruce, and less than 24 hours after he was the target of a cabbage assault at Villa Park, Bruce has reportedly been fired.

According to Sky Sports, Bruce has been let go after a run of 10 games that featured just a single win. The report has been confirmed by the Birmingham Mail. The club is down to 12th in the Championship table the year after losing in the playoff final.

Most recently, Villa drew 3-3 with Preston North End on Tuesday, the club at the very bottom of the Championship standings. In the match, Villa blew a 2-0 lead and missed a 97th minute penalty that would have won the game. An unidentified fan threw a cabbage at Bruce before the match started.

The move makes Bruce the first manager in the top two tiers of English soccer to lose his managerial position. He would have celebrated his two-year anniversary at the club on October 12. Bruce was not in charge when Villa was relegated in the summer of 2016, but took over for Roberto di Matteo just months after the start of their first season in the Championship since 1988.

According to the Birmingham Mail report, early candidates for the position include former Chelsea and Aston Villa defender John Terry and current Brentford boss Dean Smith. It also states a “number of” foreign managers are under consideration, although no specific names are given. That could be due to the reported likely involvement of popular agent Jorge Mendes, who has a relationship with new Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.