Match: Burnley vs. Aston Villa
Competition: Premier League
Date: Wednesday 1st January 2020
Venue: Turf Moor
Burnley: Wood 81'. Aston Villa: Wesley 27’, Grealish 40’.
Heaton (Nyland, 85'); Konsa, Mings, Hause; Guilbert, Douglas Luiz, Nakamba, Taylor; Trezeguet (Hourihane, 78'), Wesley (Kodjia, 71'), Grealish (C).
Substitutes not used: Elmohamady, Chester, Lansbury, El Ghazi.
Story in Brief
Wesley and Jack Grealish helped Aston Villa to the perfect start to 2020 with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
Dean Smith's striker and captain were both on the scoresheet in the first half as Villa dominated and despite a Burnley fightback that included Chris Wood's header as the clock ran down, Villa held on for a first Premier League away win since October.
Villa totally controlled the first half and could have been out of sight by the break, with Nick Pope’s goal under attack for most of the opening period.
After Grealish had a header disallowed by VAR for a marginal offside call, it was Wesley who broke the deadlock on 27 minutes, converting from close range after a chipped ball was played through by the Villa No.10.
Grealish doubled the lead with a stunning effort five minutes before the break, firing high beyond Pope after another slick attack.
Burnley looked to turn the tide after the break with Jay Rodriguez and Johann Berg Gudmundsson entering the fray, but the home side's frustration continued when Rodriguez spurned a golden chance to reduce the deficit from inside the six-yard box.
Villa had to defend well as Burnley pushed for a route back into the game, but were dealt a blow when Wesley had to be stretchered off following a full-blooded challenge with Ben Mee.
Jonathan Kodjia had a good chance to make it three shortly after his arrival, but he shot wide when a square ball to Trezeguet was possibly a better option.
Burnley managed to get their goal with 10 minutes to play as Wood headed home, with Tom Heaton picking up and injury in the process.
Ørjan Nyland came on and made a crucial claim from a corner in stoppage time, as Villa held on for a big three points on the road.
Wesley: A complete performance
From the first minute, Wesley looked like a striker with a single-minded determination to grab his first Premier League goal since October.
He went close after 11 minutes after displaying immense strength to hold off James Tarkowski, before firing home for his fifth of the season just before the half-hour mark.
Wesley's contribution extended beyond his hold-up play and finishing, as he made a number of crucial defensive headers in the second half as Burnley tried to force their way back into the game, before he had to be replaced mid-way through the second half.
Grealish equals personal best
By scoring his sixth Premier League goal of the season, 2019/20 is now the most productive season of Jack Grealish's career, in terms of league goals.
Villa's No.10 also bagged six in the Championship last season, but with plenty of time left, he is almost certain to surpass that level by some distance.
Grealish has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other English midfielder this season, with his assist tally also rising to six after he set up Wesley's opener at Turf Moor.
More New Year joy for Villa
It's fair to say that the Villa enjoy a bit of New Year's Day football more than most.
Villa are unbeaten in their last 10 league games on the 1st January - a run that stretches back to a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea in 2001.
Dean Smith's side also ended a less-than-impressive record at Turf Moor by securing their first win on this ground since an FA Cup triumph way back in March 1959.
FA Cup action is next up for the Villa, with a trip to Craven Cottage to face Championship side Fulham on Saturday 4th January, kick-off: 3:01pm.
After that is the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at the King Power Stadium against Leicester City on the following Wednesday, before Manchester City are the visitors to Villa Park