Tyrone Mings

Villa manager Smith laments penalty as relegation woes continue

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Aston Villa’s hopes of a result at Leicester City went from possible to unlikely in a heartbeat, and the Villans’ day was laughable by the final whistle.

Dean Smith‘s men conceded a controversial penalty and then fell apart in a 4-0 loss to the third-place Foxes at King Power Stadium on Monday.

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“Very tough night,” Smith said on NBCSN after the match. ” You don’t want to go and lose 4-0 anywhere. We started the game quite bright first 10 minutes but they had a lot of the ball. We made a big mistake for the goal. Going in at halftime and change a few things up.”

Then came the hour mark, as Smith was preparing a pair of attacking subs in search of an equalizer. As the reinforcements strode to the touchline, Villa defender Tyrone Mings blocked a Harvey Barnes cross with his shoulder and Leicester was awarded a penalty.

[ MORE: Vardy, Rodgers on Leicester win ]

“Second half they get a penalty. I didn’t even know what it was given for at the time. Obviously checked for handball. Looking back it hits his shoulder but it gets given, and they score and it becomes a bit of a basketball match. … We then became architects of our own downfall.”

That they did.

Villa was walloped on the day, and things don’t get any easier with Chelsea headlining a brutal run of fixtures. The club sits 19th, two points back of a trio of teams.

How can Smith and his crew find enough points to stay in the top flight?

“Being hard to beat,” he said. “That’s what we wanted to be coming here today. For periods we were. The scoreline, unfortunately, is a harsh reflection.”

Leicester City wallops Aston Villa

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Harvey Barnes led Leicester City to a 4-0 win over Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium on Monday, snapping a four-match Premier League winless run.

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Barnes scored and played a role in Leicester City’s other two goals as Jamie Vardy bagged his first two goals of 2020 in the win. Marc Albrighton assisted both the Foxes’ goals.

Leicester now has 58 points to hold an eight-point advantage on fifth place, 10 over sixth.

Villa’s 25 points are two behind a trio of teams. The Villans have lost four-straight in league play and sit 19th. They next face Chelsea, Newcastle, Wolves, and Liverpool.


Three things we learned

1. Vardy’s 2020 finally begins: Leicester City star Jamie Vardy had 17 goals on the Premier League season entering Monday’s action, but had not found the back of the goal since a 3-1 loss to Man City on Dec. 21. The goal moves Vardy back ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the race for the Golden Boot. More important, however, is the idea that Vardy could help Leicester firm up its top four credentials.

2. Villa architects of own demise (and VAR didn’t help): There’s no question that Leicester was the better team on the day, but their breakthroughs both came from Villa errors. Reina’s race to meet Albrighton’s delightful long ball to Barnes was ill-conceived and Mings’ unlucky lunge cost Villa any hopes of a comeback. Should it have been a penalty? Probably not, but it’s a low-percentage defensive move anyway.

3. Barnes an easy Man Of The Match: The 22-year-old scored his fifth and sixth league goals to go with six assists, and served the ball that led to Vardy’s penalty while also helping negotiate the counter for Vardy’s second. Barnes also is a willing combatant in his own end, winning the lion’s share of his duels while being credited with three tackles and an interception.


The visitors stormed out of the gates, and an early free kick was slid wide of the goal by Mbwana Samatta.

Leicester responded, with Kelechi Iheanacho missing wide before Pepe Reina made a great save on a Jonny Evans header.

Villa defender Frederic Guibert’s well-timed tackle earned penalty shouts from the Leicester faithful in the 23rd minute.

The Foxes kept coming, and Iheanacho missed wide with a promising header attempt 10 minutes later.

Barnes put Leicester City ahead in the 41st, as Albrighton sprung him down the wing. Barnes pushed the ball around an onrushing Reina and slotted into the empty goal.

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Reina denied a breaking Iheanacho in the 47th minute as Leicester kept coming forward.

It continued to be all-Leicester, and Dean Smith prepared some subs in the hopes of injecting life into his side.

Mings was whistled for a penalty before that could happen, his shoulder striking the ball in a lunge to block Barnes’ cross. Vardy beat Reina to make it 2-0 with 28 minutes to play.

Evans made two tackles to spring a counter for Leicester’s third, Barnes waiting to play Vardy down the left.

Aston Villa scores at the death to beat Watford

Aston Villa v. Watford match recap and highlights
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Tyrone Mings scored deep in stoppage time as Aston Villa leapt out of the Bottom Three with a huge 2-1 comeback win over Watford at Villa Park.

Douglas Luiz also scored for Villa, whose 25 points find them in 15th.

Troy Deeney scored for Watford, whose resurgence stalls at 23 points and 19th place.

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American teen Indiana Vassilev again came off the bench for Villa, playing 13 minutes.


Three things we learned

1. Mings continues MVP season: You read all the time about Jack Grealish because the hometown hero and captain is gathering so many great attacking moments for Villa, but Tyrione Mings has been so, so good at the back. His 95th minute winner was deserved after another fine day at the back with 91 touches and a six-for-six record on duels.

2. Don’t get us wrong, Grealish is solid: The Villa captain passed at 86 percent and scooped up four key passes while completing five of eight dribbles. Grealish got stuck into 21 duels, winning 13, and was fouled an absurd seven times.

3. Deeney a villain to the Villans: Troy Deeney has scored 43 Premier League goals, making his career-high six against Aston Villa good for 14 percent of his top-flight outfit. Those six have come in four matches. Four. Adding to the storyline is Deeney’s status as a Birmingham City supporter.

This is a delightful cross from Gerard Deulofeu, too.

Man of the Match: Mings


Watford had less of the ball but took a lead in the 38th minute, Gerard Deulofeu continuing a lively day by assisting a powered Deeney header.

Deulofeu looked to have Abdoulaye Doucoure for a possible second only to go it alone and fire wide of the frame.

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Villa had more of the ball in the first half and nearly all of the danger in the second, but Watford’s calm back line had plenty of blocked crosses and clearances.

The Villans got their just desserts.

Luiz was at the back post to thunder home a loose ball before celebrating with the Villa faithful, and who else but Mings saw a stoppage time winner turn off him and past Ben Foster?

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.

Southgate to rest stars, give youth a chance v. Kosovo

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With qualification to the 2020 European Championship secured earlier this week, England manager Gareth Southgate is set to rest most of his star players in favor of giving a number of younger players a chance to impress when the Three Lions take on Kosovo in Pristina on Sunday (12 p.m. ET).

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

According to a report from Sky Sports, Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford will be rested to make way for Chelsea youngsters Tammy Abraham (four caps) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (two caps). Finally given a chance to play regular minutes for the Blues, Abraham has already scored 10 goals in 12 Premier League appearances this season. The 22-year-old former journeyman loanee scored his first England goal in the 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro on Thursday. Hudson-Odoi is yet to score in PL play this season, but has shown well following his return from a ruptured achilles late last season.

John Stones and Jordan Pickford will be moved to the bench after starting against Montenegro. They will likely be replaced by Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings and Burnley’s Nick Pope. Mings has made just one appearance for England, while Pope would be making his first start. Stones is seen as having taken on an excessive workload this season due to the ongoing defensive injury crisis at Manchester City.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez departed England camp on Saturday, due to illness and injury respectively. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Declan Rice and Mason Mount could start in midfield with James Maddison (calf) and injury doubt.

Another Chelsea youngster, 21-year-old Fikayo Tomori, is also said to be in line for his first England cap, most likely as a late-game substitute along the backline.