Jack Grealish

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Villa comes back to draw Man United

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Manchester United came back from an early deficit to lead against Aston Villa, only to toss away the win in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

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Aston Villa took a point off United at Old Trafford for the first time since a 1-0 win on Dec. 12, 2009, almost exactly 10 years ago.

Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings scored for Villa, who rise into 15th with 15 points, while United’s 18th point leaves it ninth.

Tom Heaton‘s own goal was United’s first marker, Victor Lindelof its second.


Three things we learned

1. Captain Grealish scores sensational opener: Anwar El Ghazi got off a cross despite his knee buckling, and Grealish collected the ball to the left of the United box. Cutting free of Andreas Pereira to open up space, the Englishman curled an aesthetically-pleasing effort just inside the far post, leaving David De Gea helpless.

The marker is Grealish’s fifth to go with five assists in 14 appearances for Villa this season, and his 20th senior goal for his boyhood club.

2. Corner kick routines lead to United goals: Both of United’s goals were set up by corners played short and then sent into the mix. The first was Andreas Pereira making amends for his role in Villa’s opener by sending a pinpoint cross to the back post for Rashford on what would become a Heaton own goal, while Lindelof was at the back post to nestle a header into the same part of the next as Grealish’s first half sensation.

3. Mings punishes United’s advanced back line: Villa’s equalizer came off a corner kick routine of its own, as the United back line pushed high up into own 18 only to see Mings time his run perfectly for one of those chances where most are imagining the player “must be off.” Instead, the English defender thumped Targett’s cross past De Gea for 2-2.

Man of the Match: There wasn’t a true star in this one, so we’ll credit Grealish for his marvelous goal.


Both sides hit the frame on the day, Rashford and Trezequet the causes.

Villa took its lead through Grealish’s wondrous opener, though El Ghazi had to leave the match with an injury suffered on the cross.

Rashford made it 1-1 before halftime on a corner kick routine swept to the back post by Pereira.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

United called for two penalties in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but both weren’t legit.

Heaton denied a vicious Aaron Wan-Bissaka shot set up by Fred, and United took the lead on the ensuing corner kick when Lindelof scored his second goal in 84 club appearances.

The lead lasted a minute, as Mings rose to finish Matt Targett‘s chopped cross over the United back line.

A chaotic sequence in the 78th saw Martial chip Heaton and the cross bar.

WATCH: Grealish scores impossibly cool wonder goal v. Man Utd

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Jack Grealish scored an impossibly cool goal to give Aston Villa an early lead over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Villa captain, 24, arrived inside the left side of the box to collect an Anwar El Ghazi cross and saw United midfielder Andreas Pereira give him some room.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Villa | Leicester-Everton ]

Grealish then coolly zipped a shot across the box and just inside the far post, disarming Red Devils goalkeeper David De Gea to make it 1-0.

It’s his fifth goal to go with five assists in 14 appearances for Villa this season, and his 20th senior goal for his boyhood club.

El Ghazi was injured on the play and tried to go on, but subbed off in the 17th minute.

Aston Villa thumps Newcastle 2-0 to go seven clear of the drop

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Aston Villa and Newcastle came into the match at Villa Park just a point apart in the Premier League table, but on the day the gulf in ability was on full display.

A comprehensive 2-0 home victory saw Villa go seven points clear of the relegation zone, with first-half goals from Conor Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi, both on set-pieces. Needing some form of attacking mentality in the second half, Newcastle offered nothing going forward, and Steve Bruce will have plenty to ponder after a night when nothing went right.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Martin Dubravka was on hand to make sure the scoreline wasn’t worse, but the Magpies were soundly beaten on the road. Jack Grealish pulled the strings for the home side, providing a silky attacking display and delighting the Villa Park fans.


Three things we learned

1) Newcastle’s desire questionable against Villa onslaught

Aston Villa came out firing on all cylinders from the opening whistle to halftime, bringing into question Newcastle’s desire in such a critical match. Sure, Newcastle was playing on the road, but to concede so much attacking pressure to a fellow relegation candidate was problematic. It all came to a head on the half-hour mark when DeAndre Yedlin‘s foul of Jack Grealish on the edge of the penalty area led to a stunning free-kick by Conor Hourihane that delivered the game’s first goal.

It continued after the opening goal, with another set-piece situation doubling the Aston Villa lead. Newcastle had mental lapses all over the penalty area, with Paul Dummett just completely switching off, allowing a free-kick to reach Anwar El-Ghazi.

Seriously, what was the Newcastle defense doing? And goalkeeper Martin Dubravka hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory there either, putting forth a measly effort to stop that ball.

After the home side was 2-0 up and the Steve Bruce absorption plan was shot, they had very little to offer up front. Bruce threw on Andy Carroll – who hasn’t scored since April of last year – with a half-hour to go, but it had little effect on the game despite changing to a 4-4-2 formation. The Magpies had absolutely nothing when it mattered most, and that’s exceptionally worrying for a team fighting for its Premier League lives.

2) Aston Villa’s fight should keep them afloat

What Newcastle doesn’t have, Aston Villa does. Look, this isn’t the best team in the league, not by a long shot. They make mistakes and they have glaring weaknesses. But they have a fight which will earn the Claret & Blue enough points to stay afloat. Dean Smith should be proud of the way he prepares his team to play matches, milking just about as much effort from this squad as he can. It’s hard to see them going down when they play at this level during such important matches.

3) Jack Grealish continues to be Villa’s talisman

It’s been clear from the start of the season who Aston Villa’s best player is, and who will save them from the drop. Jack Grealish was fantastic again, distributing around the penalty area and pulling all the attacking strings. He completed 48 of his 56 pass attempts, including 25-of-31 in the attacking third, picking up four chances created and assisting the opening goal (to be fair, it was the cheapest assist of all time, simply there to tap the free-kick to Hourihane which opened the Newcastle wall). The 24-year-old ran the show at Villa Park and will surely be the one to lead the squad to safety this season, and he embodies the aforementioned fight that possessed the squad tonight. 

Man of the Match: Jack Grealish


Aston Villa was clearly the better side throughout the first half, holding 75% possession through the first half-hour. They went ahead on a pair of set-pieces, with Newcastle committing two fouls right on the edge of the penalty area. DeAndre Yedlin and Federico Fernandez were the guilty parties, and the defending was miserable on both goals.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Newcastle had a chance to pull one back, but a Fernandez header was saved by Tom Heaton was up to the task, keeping the effort out. That was by far their best opportunity, and put forth just one other shot on target the rest of the half.

El Ghazi nearly had a second before halftime on the counter but an excellently timed step by Jetro Willems played the Dutch international offside and the flag went up as the ball found the back of the net.

Newcastle came out inspired after the half, but the burst of energy barely lasted 10 minutes as Villa nearly scored a third on 52 minutes, requiring a great Dubravka save on Ezri Ngoyo’s header. Again Dubravka was on point in the 74th minute when Wesley poked on frame from short range with the goal gaping. He picked up a third big save on an 85th minute free-kick by Jack Grealish who was aiming for the far post with an attacker waiting to pounce.

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa v. Newcastle United

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Two teams having very different seasons meet Monday when Newcastle United heads to Villa Park to face Aston Villa (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Steve Bruce will lead his fortuitous Newcastle side against his former side, one he nearly led to Premier League promotion. The Villans have been a fun watch this season, but have not seen performances turn into points.

Villa has lost three-straight league matches, albeit against strong sides Liverpool, Man City, and Wolves, and after this face Manchester United, Arsenal, and Leicester City.

Newcastle is unbeaten in three, turning a Wolves draw into wins over Bournemouth and West Ham.

The Magpies are up to 14th and sit closer to fifth than the drop zone, while Villa is just a point clear of the Bottom Three despite some impressive performances this season.


Injuries/suspensions

Aston Villa: OUT — Jed Steer. QUESTIONABLE — Jack Grealish,

Newcastle United: OUT — Jamaal Lascelles, Sean Longstaff, Matt Ritchie. QUESTIONABLE — Florian Lejeune, Ciaran Clark


Probable lineups

Aston Villa: Heaton, Targett, Mings, Konsa, Guilbert, Nakamba, Luiz, McGinn, Grealish, El Ghazi, Wesley.

Newcastle United: Dubravka; Willems, Fernandez, Schar, Dummett, Yedlin; Hayden, Shelvey; Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.


What they’re saying

Villa boss Dean Smith on playmaker Jack Grealish: “The fact he hasn’t got called up, we’ve spoken at length about that. He can’t control that but what he can control is he can keep performing, making sure he keeps the pressure on the people who have to make them decisions. He’s ready. He’s one of the fittest lads there, always doing extras after training as well. He’s fit and ready.”

Newcastle’s Steve Bruce on electric, eccentric Allan Saint-Maximin“He’s only 22 and he’s got more outfits than I’ve seen. He’s different and I’m sure at times he’s going to cause me a few problems. But in all of that, deep down, he’s a decent kid. He’s okay, a bit different, but we all have to manage these different individuals, and he’s certainly one. He likes an ear-ring. He gives me £100 every other day when he forgets to take it out! In that respect, I’ve got a few quid off him already. But he’s a good kid, he’s all right. The players like him. He’s daft, he’s off the wall and he’s likeable.”


Prediction

A Villa win could seem like a decent bet, but so do goals. And the way Newcastle has defended is feast or famine this season. We’re gonna go for goals, with Grealish, Saint-Maximin, Wesley, and maybe even Miguel Almiron on the score sheet. 2-2.

Grealish leads Villa past 10-man Brighton

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Jack Grealish‘s star turn helped Aston Villa take advantage of 10-man Brighton and Hove Albion in a 2-1 comeback win at Villa Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Adam Webster‘s early goal gave Brighton a lead but Aaron Mooy‘s twin first half yellow cards put them under the knife.

Aston Villa moves 11th with 11 points. Brighton’s nine points seat them 16th.


Three things we learned

1. Touchy red helps undo Brighton: Aaron Mooy’s first yellow card was silly, so he know there was a need to play careful the rest of the way. He didn’t, and a soft yellow doomed the Seagulls to more than a half without the full complement of players.

2. Villa finally catching breaks: Dean Smith‘s men have had their fair share of bad luck come from good performances, so it was nice for them to follow up a blowout defeat of Norwich City with a little nudge from the Seagulls. Matty Targett’s winner came after plenty of time playing 11v10, and Villa’s standing of 11th now reflects its performances.

3. Grealish a monster: A sliding finish to make it 1-0 and clever feed to Targett for the winner. The Peaky Blinders’ haired man turned in a performance worthy of a BAFTA, with five dribbles and plenty of good moments in keeping possession moving for the victors.

Man of the Match:


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Brighton was knocking on the door early, but you’d be forgiven if you failed to predict the man to break it down.

Promising center back Webster’s stock continues to rise as he did to nod Pascal Gross‘ free kick into the goal.

A silly first yellow card for Mooy’s blocking of a free kick became egregious when he was shown another for knocking down Grealish, who would then score a sliding goal — they all count — to bring Villa level before halftime.

Solly March saw a shot through traffic go wide in the 51st as the Seagulls worked to overcome their disadvantage.

But Villa got the win through Targett at the death, a deserved-enough win although Brighton will feel hard done by.