(Reuters) – Brazilian striker Wesley scored twice and missed a penalty as Aston Villa thumped injury-hit Norwich City 5-1 at Carrow Road for their biggest Premier League away win in 11 years.
Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Douglas Luiz completed the rout, with Josip Drmic scoring a late consolation for injury-hit Norwich who looked a shadow of the side who had beaten Manchester City in their previous home game.
Wesley, who doubled his Villa goal tally, was criticised for a slipshod performance against Burnley last weekend but justified manager Dean Smith’s faith with his first-half strikes.
On 14 minutes he brought down Anwar El Ghazi’s cross to rifle past Michael McGovern, Norwich’s third-choice keeper who was making his Premier League debut for the club at the age of 35.
Wesley took advantage of good work from Hourihane to double Villa’s lead on 30 minutes but had a penalty well saved by McGovern, who also did enough to ensure Wesley’s follow-up shot ballooned over the bar.
Grealish side-footed home his first top-flight goal in four years for Villa’s third just after the break before more bad defending allowed Hourihane to grab the fourth. Luiz’s 83rd-minute thunderbolt delighted the noisy away support as Villa leapfrogged Norwich to move out of the relegation zone.
Smith was delighted with the part his 22 million-pound ($27 million) striker played in a result that moved Villa up to 14th place.
“Wesley is a young player. He has been in Belgium for a year or two and Slovakia before that,” Smith said.
“It is a new group of players and a new style and a big price. I had no doubts to put him in. I thought he was a colossus up front. The good thing for us is there is a lot of improvements to make and the potential is massive.”
Norwich manager Daniel Farke rued a weakened starting line-up.
“We had to play today without 10 players,” he said. “There were also so many players on the pitch who not able to train and had painkillers because we had no other options. Two or three key players didn’t have the best game and if this comes together you will not be competitive.”
($1 = 0.8109 pounds)
(Reporting by Neil Robinson; editing by Tony Lawrence)