Ross Barkley’s injury-time goal secured Aston Villa a 1-0 win over Leicester on Sunday evening.
The Chelsea midfielder scored his second goal in as many games for his new loan club when he riffled in an effort from 25 yards in the first minute of stoppage time.
The result has maintained Aston Villa’s 100 per cent start to the Premier League season with four wins from four matches.
Dean Smith’s side are second in the table, just one point behind Everton with a game in hand.
Villa have won their opening four league games of a season for the first time since the 1930-31 campaign.
Meanwhile, it is back-to-back defeats for Leicester, who suffered a 3-0 home loss to West Ham before the international break.
This time, though, the Foxes were without Jamie Vardy, who has scored five goals this season, due to a calf injury.
The telepathy which Jack Grealish and Barkley seemed to have had in that game was on a different wavelength in the first half, which allowed teenage debutant Wesley Fofana to coast through the game.
Leicester’s 19-year-old central defender, a £30million arrival from Saint-Etienne on deadline day, slotted seamlessly into the back four in the absence of Caglar Soyuncu, missing with an abductor injury, easing himself in with a couple of early strong challenges and growing in stature.
The fact Ollie Watkins, Villa’s hat-trick hero against Liverpool, barely had a kick never mind a chance suggested Fofana had done a good enough job.
Foxes right-back Timothy Castagne had the best of the three shots on target registered in the opening 45 minutes, all by the hosts, forcing Emiliano Martinez to concede a corner at his near post.
Villa’s best opportunity fell to Trezeguet on the rare occasion Grealish found space on the left but he shot wide under pressure.
And it was not because the standard of defending was so good, with Villa’s Matty Cash booked after resorting to pulling down Harvey Barnes’ shorts to prevent the Leicester midfielder getting away from him.
The game was littered with niggly fouls – 36 in total – and the fact there were only two more shots on target (nine) than bookings said everything about the scrappy nature of play.
Little improved after the break, with Ezri Konsa heading wide a Grealish corner when he should have done better and Youri Tielemans twice testing Emiliano Martinez from distance, once with a deflected low shot and the other a free-kick.
The introduction of James Maddison, back after a calf injury, failed to lift the Foxes, who later turned to Islam Slimani for his first appearance for the club in 1,006 days.
Villa finally recorded a shot on target in the 69th minute, Douglas Luiz hitting his effort straight at Kasper Schmeichel from distance, but it was their final one in the first minute of added time from Barkley which made all the difference.
Published at Sun, 18 Oct 2020 20:19:36 +0000