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Trezeguet sends Aston Villa on to Wembley in Carabao Cup

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In a wildly entertaining game, with massive chances for both sides, it’s Aston Villa who goes through to Wembley for the Carabao Cup final, topping Leicester City 2-1 at Villa Park for a 3-2 aggregate victory. The winning moment came as late as it possibly could, with substitute Trezeguet finding the back of the net in the 93rd minute of regulation with penalties looming.

The start of the match was intense. In the opening minutes, Jack Grealish‘s cross was stopped by the right foot of Kasper Schmeichel before down the other end James Maddison nearly put Leicester City in front but for a wonderful fingertip save by Orjan Nyland. Maddison again just missed in the seventh minute, firing just wide right with a left-footed volley.

Leicester City would rue those misses, as Aston Villa would go in front on 13 minutes as Matt Targett found some space on the left side of the six-yard box and fired past Schmeichel for the opener. The finish was emphatic and professional after the Leicester defense opened up by a brilliant run and turn by Grealish.

The Foxes were again thwarted by Nyland who acrobatically tipped a vicious shot from Youri Tielemans off the crossbar, a wonderful, shimmering save.

After halftime, Villa came close to a second through Grealish who just missed with a 54th minute shot as the hosts began to pour it on. Targett also came close but fired a long-range effort wide to the right. Again they almost had the all-important game sealer, but debutant Mbwana Samatta somehow whiffed in front of net as Grealish delivered a spectacular ball to the doorstep.

The Foxes began to push in the final 20 minutes with Jamie Vardy brought onto the pitch. Kelechi Iheanacho proved dangerous, coming close minutes before firing Leicester City level with 19 minutes to go. Harvey Barnes drives past his defender Frédéric Guilbert and fired a sumptuous cross to the far post where Iheanacho was waiting to roof the ball. Oddly enough, Barnes – essential in the creation of the equalizer – was about to be withdrawn by Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers with Demari Gray ready on the touchline, but after the goal, the substitution was reconsidered.

Leicester nearly won it with 11 minutes to go, but somehow, with Aston Villa completely unable to clear the ball from their own penalty area, the Foxes were unable to find the back of the net. Iheanacho headed the ball across the face of goal where nobody was waiting until it reached Vardy at the far post who sent it back towards the top of the six-yard box. Iheanacho then whiffed at the cutback before Maddison fired over.

The Carabao Cup does not feature extra-time, so with the score level at 1-1 and the aggregate even at 2-2, penalties were on the horizon, but Aston Villa had other ideas. The home side booked its place to Wembley on a relatively simple effort, with the Egyptian connection coming through. Ahmed El Mohamady sent a looping, long-distance cross to the far post where Trezeguet was waiting, with a simple left-footed finish before the ball hit the ground.

Overall, Jack Grealish once again showed his fabulous class, carrying Aston Villa throughout the match, proving dangerous both in transition and in the half court. Leicester City, though, will be overly disappointed having won the shot count 22 to nine and holding two-thirds of the possession. Maddison missed countless good opportunities and Vardy’s inclusion did little to help in front of net.

Villa will play in the Carabao Cup final for the ninth time in the club’s history, going for its sixth League Cup title. They will play either Manchester City or Manchester United, with City holding a 3-1 advantage going into the second leg tomorrow at the Etihad.

LIVE, League Cup semifinal: Aston Villa v. Leicester

Aston Villa v. Watford match recap and highlights
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Aston Villa host Leicester City in the second leg of their League Cup semifinal on Tuesday (kick off, 2:45 p.m. ET) at Villa Park.

[ LIVE: Villa v. Leicester ]

The score is locked at 1-1 after the first leg at Leicester as struggling Villa will hope home advantage can play a big part in upsetting the Foxes.

Brendan Rodgers and Leicester are the heavy favorites to advance to the final (their first in over 20 years) where they will face either Man City or Man United.

Dean Smith and his injury-hit Villa have been buoyed by recent results and will be dangerous with Jack Grealish leading the charge.

This will be a tight, tense Midlands derby as local pride and a place at Wembley is on the line. With the potential for penalties, if needed, it could be a long night in Birmingham.

In team news Samatta makes his Villa debut, while Leicester’s star striker Jamie Vardy is fit enough for the bench.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while we will have you covered here at Pro Soccer Talk with all of the reaction and analysis.

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Premier League January Transfer Window 2020: When it closes, notable players, more

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The Premier League January Transfer Window closes in just a few days, and clubs are still facing half a season with glaring needs all over the pitch. So far just $49 million has been spent by Premier League clubs this winter, and that could climb sharply as the window nears its conclusion. Below is all you need to know about the 2020 January transfer window deadline.

When is Transfer Deadline Day?

The January window slams shut on Friday, January 31st at 6 p.m. ET (11 p.m. GMT). Coincidentally, that’s also the exact same time the windows in Germany, Spain, Italy, and France all close as well. The Portuguese window closes on February 2nd.

What teams and players are likely to be involved?

Many of the top Premier League teams have something to fight for and may look for help from around Europe and beyond. Manchester United and Arsenal both continue to need defensive help, with both teams relying on flawed players like Phil Jones and David Luiz for much of the season. Tottenham is looking for a Harry Kane replacement, while a number of teams near the bottom look for help in avoiding relegation. Chelsea is also looking for an option at striker with Tammy Abraham suffering an ankle injury, although so far they have come up empty.

Who has already brought in players?

Early in the transfer window, Liverpool snagged RB Leipzig midfielder Takumi Minamino, who has already made an impact in the Reds’ injury stricken midfield. Tottenham Hotspur recently brought in Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes, Watford snagged Udinese winger Ignacio Pussetto. Newcastle picked up a loan for former Spurs youth product Nabil Bentaleb from Schalke, and Aston Villa purchased Mbwana Samatta from Belgian club Genk.

Players around Europe like Emre Can, Thomas Lemar, and Krzysztof Piatek could be in high demand for Premier League teams looking for midfield or attacking reinforcements.

How to watch Transfer Deadline Day coverage?

Watch the Transfer Deadline Day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on January 31 live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com. There will be analysis on all of the late deals and how each Premier League club fared during the January window. Rebecca Lowe will host the show, with studio analysts Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe. Arlo White and Graeme Le Saux will also appear from their station in the UK, and Sky Sports chief reporter Bryan Swanson will be a guest on the show. There is also extensive coverage from Sky Sports.

What were the major 2019 January Deadline Day deals?

The winter transfer window last season was a flurry of activity. Newcastle secured Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United on this day last season, while Leicester City snagged Youri Tielemans on loan from Monaco, a deal which they later made permanent. Burnley grabbed Peter Crouch on loan from Stoke City before the storied striker in the summer. Fulham desperately tried to shore up its porous defense with a loan move for Havard Nordtveit from Hoffenheim, but it was too little too late.

Aston Villa signs 16-year-old Barry from Barcelona youth squad

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On Thursday morning, Aston Villa announced the signing of 16-year-old Barcelona youth player Louie Barry, who will move straight into the academy squad at Villa Park.

Barry, an England youth international who moved from West Brom’s youth program to Barcelona last summer, has reportedly struggled to integrate in Spain and eventually opted to move back to his home country. According to the Barcelona release on Barry’s departure, Villa paid the Spanish club around $1.16 million for Barry’s signature, and reports suggest that could increase significantly with bumpers in the deal.

“It sends a powerful message about the ambition of this football club,” Academy manager Mark Harrison told VillaTV upon the initial club release of the news. “We’re delighted – Louie is a local person and his family are all Villa fans, as is Louie. He is still a very young man but as he’s developed, he’s always been one player that you always recognize as having outstanding attributes. He’s got a fantastic mentality, he’s desperate to do well for this football club.”

Barry’s departure from West Brom is still being resolved, with Barcelona still yet to pay the English club the standard $308,000 fee for international youth players that turn down professional contracts.

Aston Villa has dipped significantly into its academy products this season, with Indiana Vassilev, Cameron Archer and Jacob Ramsey all making first-team debuts at certain points. Vassilev, a USMNT youth international, has made two Premier League appearances at just 18 years old, coming off the bench for decent spells against Brighton and Watford this month. Archer played a substitute role in an EFL Cup game against Crewe Alexandria, while Ramsey played in an EFL Cup game against Brighton and saw action in the FA Cup loss to Fulham.

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.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

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.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

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?