Jacob Ramsey stole the show while John McGinn and Tyrone Mings also stood out as Aston Villa beat Norwich City 2-0 at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
Coming up against their former manager Dean Smith in the Norwich City dugout, Aston Villa were in control from the off and almost scored within ten minutes of the start through John McGinn’s effort from a distance, which Tim Krul saved. The West Midlands club continued to pose a threat going forward and eventually found the breakthrough in the 34th minute courtesy of a stunning individual effort from Jacob Ramsey.
McGinn then drew another save from Krul as half-time arrived. Norwich tried to put their visitors under a bit more pressure and carve out openings after the interval, but not many were forthcoming. Matt Targett came close to scoring at the other end while Ollie Watkins fired a header straight at Krul’s feet from a McGinn cross.
The Canaries did have a chance around the 70th minute, but Adam Idah’s effort did not trouble Emiliano Martinez much. And with three minutes of normal time left to be played, Villa put the game to bed as Watkins found the back of the net to make it 2-0 after some good work from substitute Carney Chukwuemeka.
Steven Gerrard has now led the team to four wins in his six games in charge, with the Midlands outfit moving up to ninth place in the Premier League standings. Here is how we rated the performances of the Aston Villa stars on the night at Carrow Road.
Emiliano Martinez: 6/10
The Argentine international was pretty much a spectator for large parts of the game, with Norwich hardly mustering up any goal threat on Tuesday. He did have one or two stops to make, which he did with great comfort.
Matty Cash: 7/10
Villa’s right-back was a constant source of attacking outlet as he spent much of the game holed up in the opposition half, causing Brandon Williams a great deal of trouble. His end product wasn’t always top-notch but helped keep the pressure on the hosts with his intent and energy.
Ezri Konsa: 7.5/10
The ex-Charlton Athetlic starlet enjoyed a largely comfortable outing at Carrow Road. Konsa wasn’t asked any serious questions defensively and was at hand to deal with whatever little Norwich threw his way. He always looked confident while striding out from the back with the ball at his feet.
Tyrone Mings: 8/10
"Tyrone Mings is reborn."
Damien Delaney is really, really impressed with Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa.
Watch in full: https://t.co/7bmFgBf9RF
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) December 14, 2021
The England international completely took Teemu Pukki out of the equation on the night, ensuring that Norwich City’s top goalscorer had no impact on the contest whatsoever. Strong in the air, solid on the ground, Mings made several key blocks and also oozed composure with the ball at his feet.
Matt Targett: 7/10
Like Cash on the other flank, Targett also provided a constant attacking presence on the left with his overlapping runs. At the same time, he also ensured that Przemyslaw Placheta and Max Aarons did not get the better of him defensively. The former Southampton full-back even aimed for the goal on a couple of occasions.
John McGinn: 8/10
The Scotsman easily dominated the midfield battle against his compatriots Billy Gilmour and Kenny McLean. Always looking to make things happen, McGinn almost found the back of the net early on with a long-distance screamer while his crosses and long-balls always caused problems to the Norwich defence. He set up a chance for Watkins in the second half, which the striker could not take.
John McGinn has been absolutely incredible to watch operate recently, he's now leaner and so much fitter.
— Andrew Ashburn (@AndrewAshburn) December 14, 2021
Douglas Luiz: 7.5/10
Moving into the holding midfield role in the absence of Marvelous Nakamba, the Brazilian put in an assured display in the middle of the park. He was not stretched at all, with Norwich barely threatening. And Luiz kept things ticking over smoothly for Villa to stay on top.
Jacob Ramsey: 9/10
He opened the scoring for Villa with an absolute scorcher as he picked up the ball at the halfway line and went on a run all the way to the Norwich City box before unleashing a fine left-footed strike. Full of energy and purpose, Ramsey caused all sorts of problems to the Norwich defence when he drove forward while he was also willing to put in the hard yards off the ball. He finished with two key passes, two tackles, won two aerial duels and completed one dribble.
— Villa Underground (@avfc_vilr) December 14, 2021
Emiliano Buendia: 7/10
Returning to his old stomping ground, Emiliano Buendia showed glimpses of quality that made him such a success at Carrow Road over the past three years before his move to Villa. The Argentine looked lively on the ball and was always on the lookout to engineer openings as he played two key passes while linking up well with those around him. He failed to test the goalkeeper though, before being taken off.
Ollie Watkins: 8/10
It was a hardworking display from the Aston Villa striker, who held up the ball well at the top, made good runs off the ball and made himself a nuisance for the Norwich defence to deal with. Watkins got the assist for Ramsey’s goal before he found the back of the net late on after he had seen a couple of efforts get blocked.
Ashley Young: 6/10
The veteran star started yet another game despite having run himself into the ground three days ago against Liverpool. He kept the intensity levels high during his hour-long run on the pitch even though he did not see a lot of the ball.
Danny Ings: 5/10
Came on for Young at the hour-mark and slotted in as the No. 9 with Watkins moving out wide. He was unable to make an impact.
Carney Chukwuemeka: N/A
Got the assist for Watkins’ strike.
Axel Tuanzebe: N/A
Late sub for McGinn to help see the game out.