Tom Heaton – 4.5/5
The England international is really underlining his worth after a string of excellent performances. Norwich was no different, with Heaton making at least two telling saves as well as commanding his area for 90 minutes. A low save to his left was the stand-out stop; the difference between victory and an insufficient draw.
Elmohamady – 3/5
In quietly good form and was defensively solid in place of the benched Frederic Guilbert. Going forward was a mixed bag of either dangerous or missplaced crosses. The Egytian brought an experienced composure in the latter stages.
Ezri Konsa – 3.5/5
Another consistent performance from a player developing game on game. Partnered well with Hause, looked comfortable on the ball and wasn’t afraid to mix things up physically either.
Kortney Hause – 3.5/5
Noticeable and hardworking performance, not always note-perfect, but determined. Made a number of important interceptions and seems to be on the same wavelength as Konsa. Could and should have done better with a second half header that he managed to nod wide when well placed to score. In a squad full of competition at centre half he certainly did his credentials no harm with this display.
Matt Targett – 2/5
The former Southampton man is really struggling for form in recent weeks after a promising start to life at Villa Park. Was targeted and exposed repeatedly by Norwich and guilty of a number of poor pass selections, especially as Villa looked to see the game out. Offered little going forward either. This wasn’t a disastrous display, but another which suggested there is much room for improvement.
Douglas Luiz – 3.5/5
Singled out for some criticism in certain quarters as Villa struggled to boss the midfield. However, the young Brazilian captain was a willing runner and contributed a superb match saving goal-line clearance. Luiz isn’t the finished article, but there was enough yet again to confirm his worth.
Nakamba – 1.5/5
The Zimbabwean struggled to get a foothold in the encounter and found himself a passenger for long periods. A chronic loss of form saw him withdrawn in the second half.
Jack Grealish – 4.5/5
Grealish was the fire in Villa’s belly in this essential win, delivering a tireless display. Despite Norwich’s repeated attempts at anti-football that included any number of cynical fouls, Jack’s efforts kept Villa pushing forward and trying to keep us on the front foot. Another top display, head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch.
Trezeguet – 3/5
A hard working display, but one which lacked finesse or a final product. Whilst his endeavour was admirable, it was often difficult to see what it was he was trying to do.
Anwar El Ghazi – 2/5
One of the Belgian’s more frustrating displays in which he’s anonymous for long periods. Another for whom form appears to have truly evaded them of late. We need El Ghazi to be tricky, creative and a menace, this wasn’t one of those occasions. Arguably would have been swapped had Smith a viable alternative on the bench.
Wesley – 2.5/5
The Brazilian was lively, but had to venture deeper to be involved. The latter cannot be a criticism of the Brazilian, but underlines his routine isolation in this Villa team. This wandering out of position does also inflict further harm, with Wesley being out of position for what were rare forays forward for the team. It was an eleventh league game without a goal, which doesn’t tell the whole story, but certainly some of it.
Hourihane – 3.5/5
The Irish international burst onto the pitch and fired home a sublime winner to steal the points. Strangely omitted by Smith given our lack of threat from midfield (or elsewhere…), but having said that, Norwich’s ease at bypassing him in midfield underlined the limitations to the Barnsley captain’s game. For his threat and finishing ability alone, Hourihane surely must start at Watford.
Jota & Lansbury
The two late substitutes contributed nothing of note.
Villa 1-0 Norwich
Villa overcome Norwich at Villa Park courtesy of a second half strike from Irish international Conor Hourihane.