The First Half
Keinan Davis was given a surprise start and his energy was evident as he began early with pressure on goal in the second minute of action and the team nearly never let up. Norwich simply had no answer for Davis’ determination and strength on the ball as he created numerous chances for himself and others and continued to almost single-handedly tilt the field against the Canaries.
Davis’ connection with Conor Hourihane was evident as they created two “gilt-edged” chances and were able to seal the deal in the 22nd minute as Davis created space down the right and put on a beautiful top of the grass cross to Hourihane who popped the back of the net. Davis is making early strides to show Steve Bruce that Villa might already have the striker he believes they need.
After continuing to dominate most other chances throughout the half, Villa found it in them to put a second in goal when Andre Green made a fantastic strike into the far corner to beat the keeper. Congrats are in order for Andre Green on his first goal for Aston Villa may there be many more just like it! We’ll certainly be watching that one on the highlight reels.
In spite of some miscues on the defensive end—a gaffe by John Terry to let a through ball on goal and an embarrassing effort by Hutton which led to a Norwich corner—the team dominated play. Josh Onomah was forced off by injury in the 29th minute and made way for Henri Lansbury, so there will be need to monitor his status as we embark on a busy week.
We really always knew that this type of effort was in this squad. The real question would come in whether or not they could sustain it through the second half.
The Second Half
Through no real defensive expenditure from Villa, Norwich controlled possession for a good portion, and Villa conceded a 59th minute goal when Josh Murphy beat a stationary Alan Hutton and pinpointed a shot into the bottom right corner of Johnstone’s net. The defensive effort and execution was minimal and Norwich continued to apply pressure until James Bree mercifully came on to replace Hutton.
Keinan Davis did a great job on passes forward by sealing his man to create possession throughout the game. He played a number of passes from Glenn Whelan, Josh Onomah and Conor Hourihane showing some chemistry that comes from both tactics and talents. His ability to hold off his defender continued to frustrate and create fouls and shots.
That ability of Davis’ to create fouls on his defender led to Conor Hourihane putting an exclamation point at the end of a spell of Norwich aggression in the 67th minute. His deflected strike found the net and put Villa up three goals to Norwich’s single netting.
Norwich, however, led by Murphy continued to put pressure on Villa and scored a second in the 78th. Murphys cross from just outside the box just barely made it over John Terry’s noggin to get to Nélson Oliveira and bring the Canaries to a single defecit.
The final ten minutes of the game created a fantastic memory for Hourihane who put another strike into the net to seal the game and his own hat trick. His two goals in the second half both shifted momentum and halted Norwich’s effort to even the scoreboard.
This was exactly the win that this team needed, and it came out of the great choice by Steve Bruce to insert Davis into the lineup. His effort up top opened up this attack and allowed Hourihane to do exactly what he was brought here to do.
Three points and we’re moving up the standings.