This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Aston Villa ran riot last weekend to pick up just their second win of this Premier League season as they defeated Norwich 5-1 at Carrow Road.
The result saw them rise out of the relegation zone and into 15th by close of play on Sunday evening.
Summer signing Wesley bagged a first-half brace, but we could easily have been writing about a hat-trick as his penalty was saved by the Canaries’ goalkeeper.
Villa midfielders Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane, and Douglas Luiz also got on the scoresheet to make it a fabulous five in Norfolk.
Norwich were able to capture a meaningless consolation goal three minutes from time when Josip Drmic capitalised on a Tyrone Mings blunder to slot home into an empty net.
The west Midlands club have clearly had a change in fortune in attack as prior to the game, they only managed to score eight goals in seven matches.
On the Chalkboard
One player, in particular, has made a phenomenal impact since being reintroduced to the starting line up, so much so that he could be one of the key reasons behind their upturn in goalscoring form.
Hourihane bagged his first goal of this Premier League season, meaning he has scored in every division from League Two onwards – but anyone keeping an eye on his Carabao Cup exploits would know that he’s already bagged three in that competition, taking his total for the season to four.
But it’s not just goals that the 28-year-old offers.
Watch Aston Villa Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
Football FanCast previously suggested that Jack Grealish should play further forward – that’s something that has been allowed to happen because of Hourihane’s introduction to the starting line up.
The captain’s last two games from left-wing have seen a 7.39 rating vs. Burnley followed by a goal and a season-high 8.76 rating vs. Norwich, per WhoScored.
An important thing to note is just how far forward Hourihane plays – he was actually the furthest ahead of any of the Villa squad against the Canaries, so it’s no surprise to see that he also notched up an assist on top of the goal too.
The Republic of Ireland international started the season in midfield against Tottenham Hotspur, but was unfairly dropped to allow summer arrivals Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba to settle in – he had played defensive midfield six times last season, per Transfermarkt’s recorded matches, so that made him an obvious choice.
But maybe Dean Smith has found his best position and role over the last week or so – he would be very wise to continue allowing it to pay off after the international break.
Who is Villa’s best signing?