Premier League - Villa move clear of bottom with win over Norwich

Aston Villa 4 (Benteke 25’ 27’ Bacuna 37’ Bassong o.g. 41’) Norwich City 1 (Hoolahan 3’)

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Christian Benteke celebrates his winner for Aston Villa

Aston Villa blasted Norwich City away in a 4-1 Premier League victory at Villa Park.

The result was all the more surprising when Wes Hoolahan - linked to Villa in the last transfer window - gave Norwich the lead when he converted Gary Hooper’s return pass to slot past Brad Guzan.

Then four goals in 16 minutes changed the complexion of the whole match. On the 25th minute, Christian Benteke chested down a cross and scored with an overhead kick. Two minutes later, he powered in a corner from the right with a fine header.

The lead established, Andreas Weimann spread the ball right on the counter attack, giving Leandro Bacuna the ball, who cut in onto his left foot and curled it into the far corner.

Then five minutes before half time the game was put beyond the visitors as Fabian Delph’s corner was put into the Norwich net by Sebastien Bassong, under pressure from Gabriel Agbonlahor.

The second half was conspicuously uneventful as Villa were happy to sit deep and Norwich failed to come forward in numbers or with creativity. Norwich look in real trouble.

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KEY EVENTS

3’ - HOOLAHAN SCORES - Receiving a return pass from Gary Hooper, Wes Hoolahan scores early as Norwich make a bright start.

25’ - BENTEKE EQUALISER - Chesting down a cross from the right, Benteke sends an overhead kick past John Ruddy in the Norwich goal.

27’ - VILLA GO INTO THE LEAD - Benteke follows up two minutes later to convert a corner from the right, and Villa have altered the game entirely.

37’ - VILLA SCORE THREE - Leandro Bacuna cuts in from the right wing and drills in a left footed shot to convert an Aston Villa counter-attack.

41’ - BASSONG OWN GOAL - Bertrand finds Delph on the left wing. He brings the ball back from the left wing, and Bassong sends the ball into his own goal under pressure from Agbonlahor.

85’ - HOOPER CHANCE - Gary Hooper has a rare chance in the second half, failing to clip the ball around Guzan as he is set clear of the defence.

KEY STATS

Aston Villa have lost just one of the last 12 Premier League games against Norwich City (W6 D5 L1).

The Canaries have won just four of their 33 Premier League away games under Chris Hughton (W4 D9 L20).

This is Villa’s first goal in three Premier League goals

No player has scored more headed goals in the Premier League this season than Christian Benteke.

In Norwich’s last 13 Premier League games they have failed to score six times and scored exactly one goal in each of the other seven.

Aston Villa have conceded a league high eight goals in the opening 15 minutes of games.

MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY

TALKING POINT

Is Chris Hughton on borrowed time? After such a bright start, scoring an early goal, Norwich folded comprehensively and shipped four goals. They are just four points clear of relegation and there is no sign of any good work being done to change the side.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa): Underperforming throughout the season and with his own, and other, fans on his back for failing to reproduce the performances of last season, it was his two goals that allowed Villa to turn the game around in just two minutes’ time.

PLAYER RATINGS

Aston Villa: Guzan 6, Bacuna 7, Vlaar 7, Baker 6, Bertrand 6, Westwood 6, Delph 6, El Ahmadi 6, Weimann 6, Benteke 7, Agbonlahor 6. Subs: Holt 6, Albrighton 6.

Norwich City: Ruddy 6, Martin 6, Yobo 5, Bassong 5, Olsson 5, Tettey 5, Johnson 4, Snodgrass 6, Hoolahan 6, Redmond 5, Hooper 5. Subs: Howson 5, Elmander 6, Pilkington 5.

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