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Aston Villa 1—2 Norwich: Villa Give up Early Lead

A midweek game at Norwich sees Villa losing at Carrow Road once again

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That headline sounds ever-so familiar, does it not?

After a wide-open start to this one, both teams saw some attacking chances in the first half hour, but Villa were the ones who found the opener off a corner kick. Conor Hourihane whips over an in-swinging kick that James Chester gets a tiny redirect on, which the defender marking him unfortunately (for Norwich) ends up heading into his own net. After the 19’, Villa led 1-0, looking mighty dangerous.

It was a really end-to-end game for most of the first half, with Villa a little more on the front foot with a few more of the quality chances, but that’s definitely not ignoring the amount of sights at goal Norwich had too. Hutton got forward well on the right side time and time again to send crosses in, but that’s also part of why Norwich had chances at our end. Ørjan Nyland came up witha few decent saves off shots, as well as reading and getting on the end of crosses throughout the first half.

Towards the end of the first half, Norwich find themselves some more chances, but most threatening sights at goal were either claimed by Nyland or booted to safety by the Villa defense. 1-0 Villa at halftime, but definitely not comfortably in control.

During the second half, Villa get a little bit knocked. Albert Adomah beats two defenders with some skill, but ends up with a knee injury and comes off in the 50th minute for El Ghazi. Abraham is also kicked in the face and ends with a massive welt but stays in the match for a bit until he ultimately goes down 3 minutes later with his head injury and comes off for Scott Hogan. These were two potentially massive blows for Villa.

They led with some decent spells of possession which led to some more attacks and Conor Hourihane got some room and fired just wide early in the second half. But, immediately following that, as Abraham goes off in the 54’, Norwich head home off a corner just as Villa did in the first half. Nyland came out to punch but just couldn’t quite get there and entered uncomfortable territory, which is a shame after the first half he had, building on what seemed to be solid foundations.

Immediately after the Norwich goal, they seemed to have all sorts of confidence as Villa can’t even get out of their own end in possession for the next five or so minutes. Every attack seemed to end in a set-piece one way or another for both sides, with some more decent chances coming from those. Ultimately, Villa were flagging.

Then, it comes. A driven cross finds Jordan Rhodeswho steps past Chester, and he redirects the ball on goal and past a standing Nyland for his second of the night after the 74’. A poor start to the second half for sure from Villa, after being forced to make two changes 10 minutes into the new half.

Kodjia came on for Hourihane to give Scott Hogan some support, as Hogan was not really involved in the slightest since coming on early in the second half. It’s like a switch for the entire Villa team switched off after Adomah and Abraham went off, followed by the equalizer. Lacking possession and looking nervy in the back, with little to no chances throughout the second half.

In the 86’ Grealish goes hard through midfield and gets clobbered and draws another yellow card in the match for Norwich. The ensuing free kick was played short and Jack and Neil combine a bit but Taylor wastes it, yet again. Poor second half from Taylor and Hutton, after pretty solid first halves. Grealish draws yet another foul in a semi-dangerous area in the 88’ that wins yet another corner kick, which yet again this half, comes to nothing. What I thought would be one more whack for good measure on Grealish and it’s played short to El Ghazi and the excellent ball injust can’t find Hogan in the 92nd minute.

A final foul on Grealish comes in the 97th minute right outside the box and Grealish lines it up and hits it into the wall. The final whistle blows, and Villa see another defeat at Carrow Road, the first for Dean Smith in Claret and Blue. Second game in four days, with another away day coming this Friday at QPR. UTV. We move forward.