Steven Gerrard got the better of his old Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers on Sunday, with an unlikely Ezri Konsa brace giving Aston Villa a 2-1 victory over Leicester City.
Once again, the Foxes’ inability to defend set pieces was laid bare with each of their hosts’ goals coming via this method. The victory moves Villa above Leicester and into the top half of the Premier League table on goal difference.
It did not take long for the visitors to take the lead with Harvey Barnes finding the net inside 14 minutes. Patson Daka scrapped for the ball just outside the box before slipping Barnes through who produced a precise finish.
A few minutes later Villa levelled things up, though they were helped massively by some disgraceful Leicester defending from a set-piece.
Jonny Evans fluffed a header from Douglas Luiz’s free kick and the ball was kept alive by Villa before Emiliano Buendia nodded it back into the danger area, with Konsa getting the faintest of touches before it crossed the line.
A rollercoaster first half continued when Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall – who was making his first Premier League start for the Foxes – let a huge chance go begging, heading Barnes’ cross well wide under little pressure.
James Maddison then went close, having a fierce effort cleared off the line after some neat link-up play. There was still time for Barnes to waste another good chance and Villa to have a goal disallowed – Jacob Ramsey was adjudged to have kicked the ball out of Kasper Schmeichel’s grasp – before Michael Oliver blew for half-time.
Villa came out of the blocks strongly and went ahead when Konsa netted his second goal of the game, rising high to head home at the back post.
The home side spurned a string of decent chances in the second period and were almost made to pay for their wastefulness 20 minutes from time with Emiliano Martinez forced into a world-class save to deny Barnes’ looping header from nestling in the back of the net.
This was the closest Leicester went to levelling up the scores as they slipped to their sixth Premier League defeat of the season.
Here are your player ratings from Villa Park…
Emiliano Martinez (GK) – 7/10 – Made one outrageous save from Barnes in the second half.
Matty Cash (RB) – 8/10 – Struggled to get to grips with Barnes early on but improved strikingly as things went on. Plenty of aggression and completed a ridiculous nine tackles overall. Cleared one off the line too.
Ezri Konsa (CB) – 8/10 – Nicked a goal off Buendia in the first half but there was no doubt over his second – a towering header.
Tyrone Mings (CB) – 5/10 – Positioning was okay, but his passing left a lot to be desired.
Ashley Young (LB) – 6/10 – Not given much to do by Lookman, nor by any of his replacements.
John McGinn (CM) – 7/10 – Full of energy and bite. Set up Konsa with a pinpoint corner.
Marvelous Nakamba (CM) – 6/10 – Booked for a loose challenge. Struggled to prevent Leicester getting on the break in the first half but improved significantly in the second period.
Douglas Luiz (CM) – 7/10 – Broke the lines with a string of progressive passes. Composed.
Emiliano Buendia (RW) – 7/10 – One of his best displays at Villa Park. Took up some nice positions and grabbed an assist.
Ollie Watkins (ST) – 5/10 – A bit rash at times. Decision making was lacking as well.
Jacob Ramsey (LW) – 5/10 – Had a goal disallowed, probably unfairly. Little to report otherwise, other than a poor second-half miss.
Morgan Sanson (CM) – 6/10 – Did fine.
Carney Chukwuemeka (RW) – N/A
Axel Tuanzebe (CB) – N/A
Kasper Schmeichel (GK) – 4/10 – Poor, to be honest. Lucky that VAR came to his aid in the first half and should have saved the second.
Timothy Castagne (RB) – 5/10 – Needed to offer more in the final third. All a bit passive.
Jonny Evans (CB) – 4/10 – Misjudged a header with Villa scoring soon after. Looked sluggish against Watkins at times.
Caglar Soyuncu (CB) – 4/10 – Out-jumped by Konsa at the back post for the second goal. Individually not bad, but defensively Leicester are such a shambles and he must be contributing to that.
Luke Thomas (LB) – 5/10 – Left Cash free at the back post and his blushes were only saved by a VAR review. Made up for this with a few important blocks.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (CM) – 5/10 – A promising start but struggled as things progressed. Did not take care of the ball.
Wilfred Ndidi (CM) – 7/10 – Got through a staggering amount of defensive work, finishing with five tackles and four interceptions.
James Maddison (AM) – 6/10 – Much better once again. Took up good positions to help his side get forward and fired off a few powerful strikes. Loses a mark for failing to beat the first man with a free kick in the final minute.
Ademola Lookman (RW) – 4/10 – Quiet for the second game running. Do not expect him to be in the team long on this form.
Patson Daka (ST) – 7/10 – Solid all-round performance. Caused Villa all sorts of problems and set up Barnes for the opener. Faded in the second half.
Harvey Barnes (LW) – 8/10 – A real livewire. His finish was sumptuous for the opener and he should have had more before the break. Did not always make the right decision.
Jamie Vardy (ST) – 5/10 – Barely involved.
Ayoze Perez (RW) – N/A
Kelechi Iheanacho (ST) – N/A
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