Tom Heaton

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Villa’s Wesley, Heaton ruled out for season

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Aston Villa have been dealt a huge blow in their battle against relegation.

Wesley and Tom Heaton have both been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering knee ligament damage in their 2-1 win at Burnley on New Year’s Day.

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Both players were stretchered off in the second half as Villa’s big win at Turf Moor came at a huge cost as both will now be out for between six and nine months.

“They are two key players who I feel very sorry for,” Smith said. “We’ve had five games in 16 days and another seven to come in January. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves; we have to deal with it, help the players in their recovery and go and recruit wisely.”

Wesley scored his first Premier League goal in almost three months in the win at Burnley and he is the focal point of Villa’s attack, while Heaton is their starting goalkeeper. These injuries mean Villa will have to dip into the market in January to find replacements, probably on loan.

Both players arrived at Villa in the summer and have been influential so far with Heaton making several fine stops after starting 20 of Villa’s 21 PL games so far. Back up goalkeeper Jed Steer is currently out injured too with inexperienced duo Orjan Nyland and Lovre Kalinic waiting in the wings.

Wesley has started every PL game up top for Villa but has struggled to get going in the PL after the Brazilian striker arrived from Club Brugge as he’s scored five goals so far. It has been reported that Villa want to sign Michy Batshuayi on loan for the rest of the season to replace Wesley.

With star midfielder John McGinn out for three months due to a fractured ankle it has been a horrible festive period for Villa in terms of injuries as their relegation battle just got that much tougher.

Dean Smith will now be a very busy many in the January transfer window.

Chelsea too much for scrappy Aston Villa

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Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount helped Chelsea snap a 3-match winless run with a 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.

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The Blues improve to 29 points, six better than fifth place Wolves. They out shot the visitors 25-9, putting nine shots on target.

Trezeguet scored in the losing effort for 15th place Villa, who makes three teams just a point above the Bottom Three.


Three things we learned

1. Chelsea’s dormant Mount erupts: It had been a while since the Blues’ youngster scored, but Mount made it count. Aston Villa allowed Willian ages on the right side of the 18, and the Brazilian’s cross to Abraham wound up with Mount. He tore into the shot for his fourth goal of the year.

2. Villa finds its level: Dean Smith‘s men have the quality to stay up in their first season back in the Premier League, and are definitely more talented than many of the sides in the relegation mix. But they are now 1D-5L in their first meetings with the “Big Six.” It’s commendable that the Villans already look a mid-table side, to be sure, but that extra something special isn’t there against the top clubs.

3. Pulisic Watch: Chelsea’s “Captain America” went 85 minutes in the win, subbing off for Callum Hudson-Odoi. He wasn’t a part of the goals, but was again tidy in tight spaces and a good part of Chelsea’s possession. Pulisic forced a save out of Heaton that Abraham couldn’t finish, and nearly cashed in on a free kick rebound in tight. He finished an 88 percent passer with five shots (three blocked, one on target), winning 10 of 18 duels and making one tackle.

Man of the Match:


Chelsea was lively early, with Mason Mount getting two chances before Abraham put the Blues on the board.

Reece James whipped in a cross that Abraham headed over Tom Heaton, the ex-Villa loanee neglecting a celebration for his 11th of the season.

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Mount put Chelsea ahead after the break, his first in seven league matches, when Abraham trapped Willian’s cross and Mount was there to take in the spoils.

Heaton denied Willian’s free kick near the 80th minute, and Pulisic couldn’t quite win the race to a rebound chance.

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.

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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.

Aston Villa smashes Norwich City in 5-star win

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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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Wesley scored a pair of first half goals, and Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane, and Douglas Luiz also got on the sheet in the big win.

Josip Drmic‘s stoppage time goal ruined Tom Heaton‘s clean sheet in a game with 44 total shots (22 to Villa).

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.

Anwar El Ghazi missed a clean bid to make it a two-goal lead with a header off the bar, and John McGinn curled a beauty just wide of the far post after fine work in the 27th minute.

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.

Bournemouth strikes early, holds off Villa charge

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Aston Villa returned Villa Park to the Premier League, but a pair of early mistakes allowed Bournemouth three points it didn’t quite earn in a 2-1 match on Saturday.

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Goalkeeper Tom Heaton conceded a penalty in the first minute, converted by Joshua King, and Harry Wilson scored a deflected shot in the 12th minute.

Douglas Luiz scored a beautiful goal in the second half, but that’s all the Villans could muster in the loss.


Three things we learned

  1. Heaton hears a who: The Aston Villa backstop is going to save them more points than he loses them, but his first minute penalty is one he’ll hope to forget.
  2. Eddie Howe‘s men start well again: The Cherries have four points through two matches, and overcome their hiccup against Sheffield United.
  3. Even in defeat, Villa are for real: You won’t make the types of mistakes the hosts made early and find three points often, but Villa controlled play for most of the match and took nearly double the shots of the visitors in a near-flip of their performance on Opening Day at Spurs.

I mean, look at Luiz’s goal:


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Heaton chopped down Callum Wilson just 45 seconds into the match, and Joshua King converted the penalty to give the Cherries a fine start.

It was 2-0 a dozen minutes later when Harry Wilson hit a screamer that deflected to leave Heaton out to lunch.

Villa pounded the pavement to get back into the match, but Eddie Howe was pleased to have only allowed a single goal — Luiz’s beauty (below) — and held on for the win against a very good Villa. From the BBC:

“We looked good on the counter, we had a threat today and could have had more but the third didn’t come. I think the most impressive aspect was how we saw the game out after conceding late last week. It’s a big win to come here and perform the way we did.”