Norwich City 1-5 Aston Villa: Wesley scores two and misses a penalty as Canaries humbled
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Aston Villa leapfrogged Norwich City out of the relegation zone as their giant joint top goalscorer helped himself to a double against more lacklustre Canaries defending.

Norwich, who went into the contest conceding more goals than all but Watford in the top flight, were torn apart by a rampant Villa side who dominated the midfield areas and ghosted past vacant home defending.

Milestones and modifications

Still ravaged by injuries and looking to recover from a duo of consecutive defeats, Daniel Farke named two Under-23 players on the bench with reserve goalkeeper Archie Mair and Akin Famewo drafted into the squad.

Veteran shot-stopper Michael McGovern took the gloves behind a youthful defence that included stand-in skipper Ben Godfrey awaiting a hernia operation, Ibrahim Amadou playing out of position and Jamal Lewis carrying an elbow knock.

But there were milestones for Max Aarons, Emi Buendia and Moritz Leitner who all made their 50th Norwich appearances, whilst Farke celebrated his 100th game in charge.

As for Villa, Dean Smith named an unchanged side from the team that drew against Burnley last time out.

Early joy for Villa as Wesley strikes

There was a shaky start for the home backline, particularly on Lewis' left side. Firstly, Anwar El Ghazi almost benefitted from a missed flicked clearance by the left-back but could only pick out McGovern's gloves, before John McGinn tested the 35-year old from a similar position on the corner of the penalty area.

And a rampant start from the visitors continued down that side as neat play between Frederic Guilbert and El Ghazi resulted in the latter's effort being charged down by Amadou.

Norwich looked to respond and it was Marco Stiepermann who presented the biggest threat from attacking midfield, seeing two shots blocked and another skewed over within just a handful of minutes. A breathless start at both ends.

But it was perhaps no surprise that the opener was created by Villa on the flank where they had seen so much early joy.

El Ghazi dinked a delightful ball on the turn over the flat-footed Godfrey's head, with Amadou stepping out, and Wesley was left with yards of space to slide home his third of the season. 

Visitors hit the woodwork

But Norwich responded by doing what they do best...attacking. Leitner fired a deflected effort over before Todd Cantwell, who looked more of a threat coming off the left, struck an effort into the ground and onto the roof of the net.

That said, the danger remained at the other end with Jack Grealish continuing to find too much room as his strike feathered off a Norwich defender and into the gloves of McGovern.

It was all becoming a bit too easy for Villa in front of the Norwich penalty area. Two linear passes were worked to El Ghazi who was only kept out by a flying save from McGovern. The resulting corner saw Wesley find room again, heading into the body of McGovern, before El Ghazi nodded the rebound onto the crossbar from close range.

The contest was in danger of getting away from Norwich with 30 minutes still not even on the clock. Leitner was robbed by McGinn who curled an effort inches wide.

Meanwhile, Norwich saw a Buendia shot charged down by Tyrone Mings before Jamal Lewis had an effort palmed away by Tom Heaton.

Wesley doubles his tally after strong Norwich penalty appeal

The two attacking sides continued to go toe-to-toe. A goalmouth scramble resulted in Teemu Pukki being thwarted by the outstretched body of Mings on the floor and there were strong claims for a handball. Yet VAR turned the decision away, shortly after Stiepermann's close-range rebound effort was blocked.

And Norwich soon found themselves with a mountain to climb after more poor defending.

Conor Hourihane stepped onto the ball on the byline before firing across to Wesley for an easy tap-in as he found space between Godfrey and Amadou once again.

Still breathless.

Wesley misses hat-trick chance from the spot

Aarons found himself getting more involved as Norwich sought a way of getting back in the contest. The right-back rolling the ball to Cantwell who couldn't strike cleanly and picked out the gloves of Heaton.

But there was almost more damage to come for Norwich. Grealish stabbed a perfectly weighted ball into Hourihane who was fouled by Kenny Mclean for a penalty.

Wesley stepped up for his hat-trick but was kept out not once, but twice by McGovern as he failed to convert the rebound.

And there was still time for Leitner to strike wide in a first half that totalled 28 shots!

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Grealish punishes more poor defending

This was another game Norwich could not afford to lose and they had no option but to attack again, McLean firing over from range in the opening minutes.

But just four minutes after the restart, Grealish glided across the pitch, after an interception from the excellent Marvelous Nakamba, before feeding El Ghazi who returned the ball to his captain and placed the ball home.

But still Norwich came forward, Buendia going close before Cantwell stung the palms of Heaton.

At the other end, there were no suggestions that the hosts were learning from their mistakes, Grealish curling wide from another El Ghazi lay-off. And they were soon made to pay again...

Hourihane gets in on the act before Douglas Luiz cracker

In the middle of the park, there was simply one side who wanted it more. Matt Targett robbed Buendia before the ball was worked to Hourihane. The midfielder stepped inside before curling a delightful effort home for his fourth goal of the season - his first in the league.

A slight lull followed for the first time in the contest but Norwich continued to probe as Wesley almost shinned into his own goal from a corner and Godfrey volleyed over.

But still the Norwich passes went astray and Villa remained relentless.

After stealing the ball once again in midfield, Villa worked the ball to substitute Douglas Luiz on the edge of the box, the midfielder shaping his effort superbly into the top corner.

Consolation for Drmic

But there was to be a blotch on the visiting copy book.

A misplaced Mings pass back towards goal was misjudged by Villa goalkeeper Heaton and another substitute, Josip Drmic, charged the ball down within minutes of coming on before passing the ball into Heaton's empty net.

And Norwich should have netted another during injury time. Drmic flicked on Buendia's corner but Amadou capped a nightmare day by heading over from a couple of yards.

That would be the final action of a pulsating encounter, one in which the Norwich fans kept behind their side throughout the contest, but a performance that leaves Daniel Farke with plenty of work to do during the international break.

Key takeaway from the game

Sheer domination from Wesley against redundant Norwich defence

Villa's Wesley was simply outstanding, particularly during the first half, but he was barely made to work by Ben Godfrey and Ibrahim Amadou.

The striker won virtually every ball pinged into his body, more often than not against Amadou.

His first goal was delicately finished but Amadou should have been on the cover rather than stepping out as Godfrey was left treading water.

And Wesley's second was even easier as he was allowed to glide between the two defenders who lacked communication and guidance.

Even when the striker wasn't a presence in the box, Grealish was able to pick out the yards between the centre-backs to net a third during a rout for the visitors.

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