Norwich City 1-5 Aston Villa - Canaries thrashed by Villa at Carrow Road
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City’s Premier League slump continues after they were comfortably beaten 5-1 by Dean Smith’s Aston Villa at Carrow Road.
Goals from Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane, Douglas Luiz and a Wesley brace secured Villa's first points away from home this season and compounded the Canaries misery of late. Josip Drmic scored his first for City with minutes to play but it proved to be only a consolation.
City's injury malaise displays no sign of abating for Farke, with third-choice 'keeper Michael McGovern handed a start in the absence of Ralf Fahrmann and Tim Krul.
Young duo Archie Mair and Akin Famewo were named on the substitute bench, as was the extent of City's crisis with injuries. Grant Hanley succumbed to a groin injury but Sam Byram was fit enough to make the bench.
Dean Smith possesses the luxury of a virtually injury-free squad and named an unchanged XI, naming the same side who drew with Burnley at Villa Park last weekend.
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The opening exchanges were lively, with Todd Cantwell closing down Frederic Guilbert only for a loose pass to be carried forward by Villa with John McGinn's switch of play for left-back Matt Targett resulting in a teasing cross that wasn't dealt with but ultimately came to nothing.
Moments later, it was Villa's intense press that disrupted City's desired attempt for possession, with Mo Leitner being robbed only for McGinn to fire wide.
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With a frantic tempo, the game continued with both sides seeking to stamp their mark on proceedings. The Canaries forays forward become more consistent prior to Marco Stiepermann firing over after 8 minutes.
In Wesley, Villa had a physical threat capable of bringing others into play effectively but equally a presence from crossing situations.
On the 15th minute, it was the striker who broke the deadlock. El Ghazi's cross was floated in, and Ben Godfrey was caught napping to play Wesley onside, the striker found some space and slotted cooly past McGovern.
City responded with promising passages of play. A Buendia free-kick cleared by Mings preceded a moment akin to pinball in the penalty area with Leitner's strike deflected beyond Tom Heaton's post.
The Villians offensive dominance continued, with Wesley's free header on 25 minutes hitting McGovern but El Ghazi could only strike the bar from the rebound.
McGinn came close moments later, with the Canaries midfield dispossessed once more but the Scottish midfielder could only curl the ball beyond McGovern's right post.
City felt aggrieved after VAR adjudged that Tyrone Mings didn't use his arm to block a Pukki effort.
In the aftermath of that refereeing chaos, Villa ventured forward with purpose, making inroads down the left-hand side with Hourihane squaring the ball to Wesley who converted an easy tap-in to double their advantage on 30 minutes.
The defending was pedestrian. Villa's offensive gameplan consisted of leaving their front three pinned against City's backline before flooding forward in transition.
McLean's clumsy tackle on Hourihane saw Villa awarded a penalty on the 36th minute. Wesley stood behind the ball, desperately seeking his hattrick.
His low drive was thwarted by McGovern, but it was the diving save that followed that was even more impressive to deny the Brazilian on the rebound.
Pressure from City followed, but they failed to intricately work an opening, with pull backs being the preferred route to dispatching shots on goal.
The second half continued in a similar vein for City, with Villa exploiting space to create chances. They will have considered themselves unfortunate not to be leading by a more significant margin, especially with nine shots on target before half-time.
Moments into the second half, that third goal did arrive.
Grealish was the protagonist, driving forward into space vacated by a City midfield who failed to offer the required protection. The midfielder slotted the ball into El Ghazi who unselfishly returned the favour for Grealish to dispatch into the net with aplomb.
There was somewhat of a lull that followed the third goal with City attempting to restore a foothold in proceedings. It was Villa who nearly added another, however, with a well-worked move culminating in Grealish curling just wide.
City were once again dispossessed after attempting to build from the back, Buendia tried to turn Hourihane but was tackled before the midfielder curled the ball beautifully beyond the outstretched arm of McGovern to extend the visitors advantage.
Frustration from within the Canaries ranks was palpable. They struggled to create anything substantial from an offensive sense but still looked stretched and exposed on the counter.
It took until the 75th minute for City to create another opportunity, with Buendia's corner sliced just wide by Ezri Konsa.
Villa's rout was given extra polish after Douglas Luiz exquisitely added a fifth on the 83rd minute.
City did pull a goal back through Swiss striker Drmic after a poor back pass from Konsa was dispossessed for a consolation goal for the Canaries.
Farke's 100th game at the helm for the Canaries ended with a heavy defeat, leaving the German with plenty to ponder as they head into the international break. The aim will be to accelerate the recovery of several operators ahead of a tricky test against Bournemouth after the hiatus.
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): McGovern; Aarons, Amadou, Godfrey (c), Lewis; McLean, Leitner; Buendia, Stiepermann (Roberts; 75), Cantwell (Srbeny; 80); Pukki (Drmic; 83) (subs not used) Mair (GK), Byram, Idah, Famewo
- Bookings: Pukki
- Goals: Drmic (87)
- Aston Villa: (4-3-3): Heaton; Guilbert, Engels (Konsa; 74), Mings, Targett; Nakamba, Hourihane (Douglas Luiz; 77), McGinn; Grealish (c), El Ghazi (Trezeguet, 64); Wesley (subs not used) Steer, Taylor, Jota, Davis
- Bookings: McGinn, Hourihane, Guilbert
- Goals: Wesley (14, 30), Grealish (49), Hourihane (61), Douglas Luiz (84)
- Added on time: 2 mins/ 3 mins
- Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorks)
-VAR: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)