Liverpool beat the Aston Villa kids in FA Cup win

Following a string of positive Covid-19 tests for Villa, stand in boss Mark Delaney had to field a full starting XI of academy players against the Reds.

But, apparently Jurgen Klopp didn’t read the pre-game script, as the German boss named a strong side to face the kids.

Sadio Mane handed Liverpool an early lead as he powered home Curtis Jones’ cross before Louie Barry netted a superb equaliser.

Calum Rowe’s pass caught out Rhys Williams and the highly rated Barry raced on to slot past Caoimhin Kelleher.

Liverpool reacted ruthlessly after the break however, as a five-minute blitz saw off Villa’s plucky challenge.

Gini Wijnaldum swept home from the edge of the box before the ever reliable Mane and Mo Salah ended any chance of a fairy tale.

Full Time on a strange night at Villa Park it’s Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 4

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa v Crystal Palace

The Villains have looked brilliant on the road in recent weeks with wins over Leicester, Arsenal, Wolves and West Brom.

But at home they have struggled and Smith will need to change that…….and quick.

His team picked up no casualties in their win over the Baggies last time out and he could name an unchanged line up with Ross Barkley and Ezri Konsa back on the bench.

For Palace, things can’t really get much worse after they were whacked 7-0 by Liverpool last weekend and Roy Hodgson looks certain to change things up.

Christian Benteke is back in the squad after a one game ban with James Tomkins, Michy Batshuayi and James McCarthy all pushing for a starting spot

And Kick Off is set for a 3pm start on Boxing Day at Villa Park

Brighton fight back to secure 2-1 Premier League win at Aston Villa

Goals in either half from Danny Welbeck and Solly March secured a vital three points for the Seagulls as Dean Smith’s Villa slip to a third defeat of the season.

Neither side created much in a busy opening quarter of an hour before Welbeck showed an ice cool calmness to put the visitors ahead.

Villa’s attempt to play a high offside trap were exposed by Adam Lallana’s through ball and Welbeck strode on an confidently chipped past Emiliano Martinez.

That early breakthrough opened the game up at both ends, with Bertrand Traore firing a brilliant chance against the post and Neil Maupay bringing the best from Martinez.

Villa worked hard to turn the tide after the restart, and Ezri Konsa deserved edged them level on 47 minutes.

Traore’s deep free kick evaded a line of Brighton defenders and Konsa bravely slid home at the back post.

But just as Villa looked on course to wrestle control of the game away from Brighton, March produced a brilliant strike on the hour.

Pascal Gross switched play to him on the edge of the box and with Villa unable to recover in time, he whipped a fantastic effort past Martinez.

But just as the game seemed to be drifting to a quiet end, referee Michael Oliver put himself right at the centre of the action in added time.

Firstly, he sent off Tariq Lamptey for two tired tackles on Jack Grealish before controversially awarding Villa a 93rd minute spot kick.

He originally awarded a penalty for March’s late challenge on Trezeuget inside the box, but in yet another VAR talking point this season, he opted to overturn the decision and hand Brighton all three points.
Full Time at Villa Park it’s Aston Villa 1 Brighton 2

Premier League: Aston Villa vs Brighton and Hove Albion

Villa have been one of the season’s surprise packages and find themselves sixth in the league after seven games, and full of confidence after beating Arsenal 3-0 in their last Premier League outing.

It’s been less happy at home in recent times though, having lost their only two league games on their own patch this season. Boss Dean Smith has targeted the visit of the Seagulls as a chance to turn that form around, having lost to Leeds and Southampton in their last two games at Villa Park.

Smith will be pleased that he has no new injury concerns ahead of the game, with Tom Heaton and Wesley still out with long-term injuries. Heaton has played some football since returning to training with the under-23’s but isn’t fit enough to return to the squad, while Wesley has started ball work after a similar injury to his knee ligaments.

The Villa boss also confirmed in Thursday’s press conference that Björn Engels and Frédéric Guilbert are unavailable for the weekend, but Kortney Hause returned to training late in the week and could make the squad.

Bertrand Traore had been struggling with a thigh injury, but played 90 minutes for Burkina Faso on Monday and should be involved in the squad. He’s unlikely to start though, as Smith hinted at continuity for the visit of Graham Potter’s side.

Speaking of Potter, Brighton are set to welcome back some faces to their squad. Aaron Connolly and Solly March have both returned to training and will be involved, while Lewis Dunk returns after a three-match suspension.

Leandro Trossard and Davy Propper are doubts though, after the Dutchman had a stomach illness in the week and may be forced to miss out as a result. Trossard isn’t completely ruled out, but Potter has said that the game might come too soon for him after injury.

Alexis Mac Allister, Christian Walton, Florin Andone and Jose Izquierdo are all ruled out.

With just six points on board after eight games, Brighton will be hoping to close the gap on the teams directly above them in the table, as a four point deficit has opened up between them and 15th-placed Leeds United.

Aston Villa take on Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, November 21st. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Southampton edge out 4-3 Premier League thriller at Aston Villa

The Saints have been on of the top-flight’s most in form teams in recent weeks and some spectacular finishing from birthday boy James Ward-Prowse just about secured all three points at Villa Park.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have developed a reputation as fast starters this season and they were on the front foot early here as Theo Walcott fired against the bar.

And with all the pressure coming from the visitors they found a breakthrough on 20 minutes as Jannik Vestergaard nodded home Ward-Prowse’s corner.

Ward-Prowse then took control of things for the Saints as the England international fired home a pair of superb free kicks before the break.

Villa did try to force their way back into the game after restart with Trezeguet and Jack Grealish both forcing saves from Alex McCarthy.

But the Saints were in no mood to let their lead slip away as Danny Ings got in on the act to make it 4-0.

Stuart Armstrong fed the former Liverpool man inside the box and he curled another brilliant effort past Emiliano Martinez.

But despite the game appearing dead and buried in the closing stages, Dean Smith’s side launched an incredible late rally as Tyrone Mings headed home Grealish’s cross.

Villa threw everything at it in the final moments as Ollie Watkins fired home from the penalty spot and Grealish tucked past McCarthy.

But in the end there just was not quite enough time to haul back the Saints.

Full Time at a brilliant end at Villa Park it’s Aston Villa 3 Southampton 4

Premier League: Aston Villa v Leeds United

This is a game that, should they win, will send Aston Villa to the top of the Premier League table until, at least Sunday when Everton play Southampton.

It’s been a start that many Villa fans would have only dreamed of and if they are to achieve that top spot they’ll be looking to Ross Barkley to carry on his fine goalscoring form having netted two in two for the Midlands side since joining on loan from Chelsea for the season.

A win against Bielsa’s side would equal Aston Villa’s consecutive win record in the top flight of 5 games, but they should not expect the niceties offered last time this pair met.

The last outing between these two teams was at Elland Road in 2019 when, after Leeds midfielder Mateusz Klich scored a contentious opening goal, manager Marcelo Bielsa order his team to concede an equaliser with the match finishing 1-1.

For Leeds United, they appear to have settled a little after the goal-fests of their opening two games against Liverpool and Fulham, but still find themselves in 10th, with 7 points and just one win off Liverpool in 3rd – making them the stand out pick from this seasons promoted teams.

West Bromwich Albion and Fulham have only amassed only 3 points between them so far this season.

Whilst Dean Smith is likely to name an unchanged side from his team’s win over Leicester City last weekend, Marcelo Bielsa will be without influential midfielder Kalvin Phillips who is unavailable for several weeks after picking up a shoulder injury against Wolves. Liam Cooper is also a doubt and Diego Llorente remains out.

Kick off at Villa Park is at 8pm.

Aston Villa secure fifth straight Premier League win at Leicester City

The former Everton man has looked revitalised following his loan move to Villa Park and his added time intervention makes it five straight wins for Dean Smith.

Villa skipper Jack Grealish was at the heart of it for the hosts in the early exchanges as his fizzed free kick brought the best out of Kasper Schmeichel.

The Foxes did improve after the break, but without Jamie Vardy spearheading their attack, the Foxes were restricted to half chances as Youri Tielemens tested Emiliano Martinez.

Leicester lack of cutting edge meant the door remained open to Villa in the closing stages as Ollie Watkins and Matty Cash both tested Schmeichel.

But despite looking well placed to hang on for the draw Leicester were undone by a flash of magic from Barkley.

John McGinn’s clever ball found him in space outside the box and his rocket of an effort flew past Schmeichel.

FULL TIME AT THE KING POWER STADIUM IT’S LEICESTER CITY 0 ASTON VILLA 1

Aston Villa HAMMER Liverpool 7-2 at Villa Park

Summer signings Ollie Watkins bagged a hat trick against the champions, and despite a weekend of ridiculous results, this is surely the biggest shock.

Watkins got the ball rolling inside the first five minutes after Jack Grealish pounced a clanger from Reds keeper Adrian.

But despite the expected Liverpool first half comeback, Villa stayed on top as Watkins bagged a spectacular second.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were shaken into life by the two-goal deficit, as Mo Salah got them back into it.

But as soon as Liverpool got their foot in the door, John McGinn volleyed home a third and Watkins sensationally completed a first half hat trick.

And there was to be no letting up after the break, as both sides took a break from bothering to defend, with Ross Barkey, Salah and Grealish all finding the net.

The game continued to see saw from end in the final half hour as Salah and Roberto Firmino missed chances to stage an outrageous comeback.

But in the end Grealish tore through the absent Reds defence to make it a magnificent seven for Villa.

FULL TIME AT RIDICULOUS VILLA PARK IT’S ASTON VILLA 7 LIVERPOOL 2

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa Host Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United

Dean Smith’s side were granted an extra week of preparation and he’s expected to field all three of his summer signings against the Blades.

Club record transfer Ollie Watkins should lead the line at Villa Park, with Emiliano Martinez and Matty Cash also set for their league debuts.

Smith is also expected to recall Douglas Luiz and Conor Hourihane after they were given a rest for the midweek cup win at Burton.

For the Blades, they started the new campaign with a defeat, as Chris Wilder’s side lost 2-0 at home to Wolves.

Wilder has no new injuries to contend with following that game, but he is expected to make some changes.

Sander Berge and David McGoldrick both made an impact off the bench against Wolves and the pair could come in from the start in this one.

And it will be all eyes on the West Midlands tomorrow night, with a 6pm kick off at Villa Park.

Aston Villa get Cash

Manager Dean Smith was able to convince Cash to sign a five-year deal at Villa Park, spurning the advances of a clutch of rival Premier League clubs.

The 23-year-old made 141 appearances across six years at Forest, and is the latest City Ground product to secure a top-flight move.

“We are delighted to welcome Matty to Villa and believe we have secured one of England’s brightest young prospects,” said Villa boss Smith.

“He has an excellent playing record for a young player and we believe he will settle in easily and continue his rapid development into a top full-back.”

Cash confirmed he had signed a five-year deal at Villa Park, revealing his delight to make the top-flight step up.

“Absolutely buzzing to have signed a five-year deal at Aston Villa,” he tweeted.

“Something I’ve always dreamed of since I was a young boy to play in the Premier League, it really is a dream come true.”

The Slough-born defender admitted he had jumped at the chance to join Villa, as soon as he heard of the club’s interest.

“My agent rang me and said that Villa were interested, and immediately it was the place I wanted to come to,” said Cash.

“I said ‘don’t even worry about anywhere else, I want to come here and play’.

“It’s been a crazy journey from the age of 17, getting released at Wycombe Wanderers to kicking on.

“I had a very good five years at Forest and I can’t thank them enough – they were very good to me.

“Signing for Villa is a huge moment, and I want to thank everyone who’s supported me through this process.

“I’m coming off a good season and I’m ready to take that into the Premier League with Villa.”

Conor Hourihane set for shock Aston Villa exit claim reports

Turkish media claim that the Republic of Ireland international’s agent has been in talks with Super Lig sides Besiktas and Trabzonspor over a potential switch.

Hourihane is set to begin his fifth season at Villa Park, having featured 34 times under Dean Smith last season as the club scrambled to Premier League safety.

Former Chelsea player Eddie Newton is the new Trabzonspor head coach and will no doubt have been aware of the 29-year-old’s influence – perhaps even more so considering Hourihane is out of contract next summer.

Reports claim the player is open to the move, but Turkish media have been known to be unreliable in the past.

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith hoping for smoother sailing this season

Villa spent close to £150m on players last summer, only to find themselves in a relegation battle for a large chunk of the season and eventually staying afloat in the top flight by just a single point.

The poor transfer strategy cost Sporting Director Jesus Garcia Pitarch his job at the club, and he has since been replaced by former FC Copenhagen Director of Football Johan Lange at Villa Park.

Manager Dean Smith revealed he has been in dialogue with Lange regarding signings.
When asked by club media about potential incomings this summer, Smith said:

“Wheels are in motion, that was the reason I stopped back, to sit down with Johan and strategically plan what we are going to do.

“Nobody is satisfied with finishing 17th in the league – owners, supporters, players and coaching staff. So we need to improve the squad. We improved after the lockdown and Project Restart and we need to improve again because we don’t want a season of struggles.”