F/T: Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1

FULL TIME .Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1.

Snodgrass gets a flick to Bennett's chip but it lands on the roof of the net and it looks like that will be that.

Great chance for Norwich. Excellent work from Pilington who lifts the ball into the box with Bennett's shot hit wildly and landing with the fans behind goal.

A dreadful sprayed ball from Garrido lands with Guzan and it looks like Norwich's exertions have taken the toll as both teams struggle to link any passes together now.

Four minutes of injury time to be played.

Snodgrass' effort is terrible in the end and it's a goal kick for Villa with only minutes left for either team to snatch a late winner.

Delph carelessly fouls Hoolahan and Norwich win a free-kick in a very dangerous position, with Snodgrass poised.

Norwich switch off and Albrighton nearly makes them pay until a poor touch gives Bassong the chance to clear.

A poor corner from Pilkington travels the width of the field and out, but a Norwich winner is not out of the question here, and in fact looks quite likely.

Herd risks the wrath of Phil Dowd by sliding through Hoolahan and not picking up a second yellow. Very fortunate for the Villa man.

Guzan makes a routine catch from Garrdio's delivery from the left. Villa can't make anything in possession though, and Guzan is again on hand to claim Snodgrass' cross from the right this time.

Lichaj picks up a knock during Norwich's last attack and for the time being, Villa are down to nine men as play resumes.

Villa desperately clear through Delph after Holt's knock down, but it's all the hosts can do at the moment as they continue to faces waves of Norwich attack.

Holt looks for Hoolahan with an audacious backheel but the tight marking of Herd sees the ball cut out, as Villa regain possession.

Villa switch off from the corner and Norwich make them pay as Hoolahan's delivery is met by Turner whose header clips off the post and into the net. 1-1 and surely the game is Norwich's for the taking now.


Herd heads away Snodgrass' delivery but Hoolahan presses forward with a last-gasp tackle from Vlaar clearing the danger.

Brilliant chance for Norwich! Holt is released and as he charges through on goal Guzan reads him perfectly and makes an exceptional save!

Holman comes off after an industrious shift with Andreas Weimann replacing him.

Guzan nudges Lowton out of the way to claim Holt's bouncing header, the Villa keeper really impressing here.

Villa try and keep possession but their numbers disadvantage limits their movement as Holman loses out to Garrido.

Guzan makes two important clearances in succession, the Villa goalkeeper becoming increasingly busier with every passing minute.

A Norwich corner falls to Snodgrass, with Lowton again making a crucial interception as Villa continue to hold on.

Tettey's rifled effort draws a stunning block from El Ahmadi. Surely it's only a matter of time before Norwich equalise here.

Norwich too make a change as Morison comes on to replace Johnson.

Benteke is taken off after a very impressive shift and Bent takes his place.

Great chance for Norwich. Garrido delivers a wicked ball to the far post and Vlaar's presence is enough to force Holt's header from close range over the bar.

As the ball wanders into the Norwich half, Villa's lack of possession is starting to see them sit increasingly further back. Vlaar ends up heading away bravely to deny Holt though as the chances keep on coming for the visitors.

Villa back off as Bassong moves forward, but an inaccurate pass from Johnson results in Delph regaining the ball and taking a poor challenge from the Norwich midfielder.

It's all Norwich now as Villa struggle to clear their lines before a hopeful drive from Johnson fizzes wide of goal.

Snodgrass is on for Norwich in place of E Bennett.

The gaps are starting to show as a careless pass from Vlaar lands Villa in trouble. A strong save from Guzan from Hoolahan results in a Norwich corner.

Yellow card for Herd after a late challenge on Holt.

A one-two with Benteke and Albrighton is excellent but the latter's touch lets him down in the end as the ball runs out of play.

Lichaj recovers incredibly after Johnson's ball to Pilkington caught him out of position. A solid challenge on the Norwich man results in a Villa goal kick.

Benteke is again flashed offside as Holman's quick and very clever ball just caught out the Villa striker.

Top work from Bassong to beat Benteke and Albrighton, but Villa maintain their attack through Lichaj who wins a throw-in down the left.

Albrighton capitalises on a poor touch from Garrido, but his speculative ball down the line was always going to catch the retreating Benteke offside.

Tettey picks out R Bennett, whose delivery is met by Vlaar, with the home fans getting growingly nervous as this promises to be a long half for Villa now.

Herd looks for Holman but the winger can't pull away from the tight marking of Turner who prevents the Villa man making contact.

Holt looks to rip the shirt off Herd, in a sense, as a battle for the ball results in a Villa free-kick. As a result, Benteke finds space but a crucial sliding tackle from Turner ends Villa's attack.

Agbonlahor is the casualty for Villa as a result of that red card, with Lichaj coming on to fill their defensive void.

E Bennett's incredible delivery nearly catches Guzan off guard and the Villa man is forced into an unconvincing parry at the far post.

It's a mistake the Villa man could live to regret as he tugs E Bennett on the touchline and earns himself a second yellow - putting his team-mates in all sorts of bother now.

Joe Bennett is sent off!

Holman gets it all wrong as he searches for the run of Benteke - giving him no chance with a poorly weighted through ball.

Agbonlahor picks up the ball for Villa, driving Villa forward until finding Benteke. His partner looks to feed him back in though and Bassong intercepts.

Vlaar heads away Pilkington's delicious delivery, and Villa look to break until Delph is forced backwards by R Bennett.

Vlaar battles with Holt but comes out on the losing side as Norwich win a free-kick near the byline.

Bennett whips a curling ball into the near post and Bassong has to be wary of his surroundings as he clears behind. From the corner, it's a routine catch for Ruddy.

Good work from Benteke again as he beats Turner in the air before heading at goal from Albrighton's cross. It's a fairly tame header in the end though and Ruddy claims.

Villa get the game restarted.

Norwich are forced into a change at the break as the stricken Martin comes off for Ryan Bennett.

The Crown (not a real name, I assume) writes: "We can't hold hands at the moment, let alone leads. Villa may not lose, but I'd be surprised if Norwich didn't score."

It's been extremely untidy but Villa hold the lead after a scrappy half that has always had the potential to explode into life. Can the hosts hold on to their lead? Send your predictions to jack.woodfield@bskyb.com or @JWoodfield365

HALF TIME. Aston Villa 1 Norwich 0.

One minute of injury time to be played.

Benteke again wins the ball from the delivery but his header lacked power and ended up being comfortable for Ruddy to gather.

Delph is felled by Martin and the hosts win the free-kick which Holman which Bennett will surely float into the box.

Bassong clears from Bennett and resilient pressing from Tettey sees Norwich win back possession.

Delph and El Ahmadi look extremely uncomfortable as they continue to take unnecessary risks, but with Norwich looking equally nervous the game seems to be balancing out for the time being.

Martin takes a knock and temporarily hobbles to the sidelines. Play resumes though, where Turner covers the vacant position and heads away Bennett's long ball.

Bennett makes a superb block to deny a scorcher from Johnson reaching goal. It's still all Norwich though as Herd intercepts crucially from Hoolahan's delivery to concede a corner.

Ruddy claims the corner confidently at the near post and throws out to Pilkington down the left. Garrido crosses in but Vlaar's header clears away the danger.

Another poor pass from El Ahmadi gives awat a shooting chance, but he makes amends with a tremendous ball from the left with Benteke's shot deflected behind for a corner.

Benteke again beats Turner to the ball as he finds Holman. Solid defending from Martin forces him back though before Delph earns Villa a free-kick.

Benteke's wonderful head nods the ball on, but Turner cuts off the run of Agbonlahor before calmly playing back to Ruddy.

Benteke is clobbered into by Turner but a throw-in is the verdict as the Norwich players start to monitor the activity of Benteke much more closely.

A lovely ball from Bennett finds Pilkington but his ball into the box is cleared bravely by Delph. Villa look to break with Agbonlahor but after a surging run his delivery to Benteke is quite poor in the end.

El Ahmadi shakes off Johnson as Villa retrieve possession. Delph can't drive Villa forward though and Tettey wins back the ball for Norwich.

Johnson delivers into the far post but Bennett marshalls Martin terrifically and the ball ends up travelling out of play without contact from anyone.

Guzan punches away Pilikington's free-kick, but Albrighton can only bring down Tettey shortly after and Norwich win another chance to deliver a ball into the box.

Bennett makes a careless tackle on Hoolahan and the referee awards the first yellow card of the game.

It's come somewhat against the run of play but what an important goal that could be for Villa. Holman's good efforts down the left result in a terrific ball into Benteke who finishes calmly past Ruddy.


Norwich again come close as Tettey finds Holt at the far post, with the striker nodding the ball across goal but Guzan makes the save.

Holt is becoming more of a presence as he brings Hoolahan into play, but the winger's cross again eludes everyone in the penalty area.

Pilkington and E Bennett are the next Norwich duo to exchange passes and only a diving challenge from Albrighton ends up carrying the ball into Guzan's path.

The offside flag saves Villa, after Delph initially won back possession before conceding it to Tettey straight after.

Good chance for Norwich. Holt slips in Hoolahan and with the goal gaping he ends up forcing a great save from Guzan.

Benteke is caught offside from Vlaar's ball, but the Villa striker continues to look lively and arguably Villa's biggest attacking threat by some way.

Lowton and Benteke link up on the right, but the right back's outswinging ball is again poor as Villa fail to really threaten in the final third.

Turner gets it clear before the industrious E Bennett rids Norwich of the danger from Albrighton's delivery.

Benteke shows tremendous strength to hold the ball up and draw a foul from Bassong. Free-kick to Villa roughly 25 yards from goal.

Vlaar clatters into E Bennett on the edge of the box, but the referee deems that the defender won the ball as Norwich are left aggrieved.

Delph sprays a ball out to Albrighton on the right but it carries far too much weight and leaves the winger no chance of retrieving it.

E Bennett charges forward and looks for something special, before dragging his right-footed shot wide of Guzan's goal.

El Ahmadi makes a brilliant interception from Garrido but then directs a pass straight into Bassong's path as a counter attack fails to materialise.

Herd plays a careless clearance into Johnson's path but eventually makes amends. Villa look extremely nervous defensively here.

Martin is all over Agbonlahor, much to the chagrin of the home fans, but he wins the ball and no free-kick is given. As Hoolahan looks to carry over the move, he meets a solid interception from Bennett.

Lowton can't find Benteke in behind Garrido, and as Norwich look to play away, Delph concedes a foul on Tettey.

Albrighton battles with Bassong on the byline after Benteke's scuffed shot, but despite the Villa man's claims for a corner, a Norwich goal kick is awarded.

Hoolahan looks to meet Johnson's delicate chip over the top of Bennett but he can't avoid the offside flag from the linesman.

Holman cuts across the pitch and catches a break as he plays a one-two with Bassong. He fires at goal from just outside the box but it's a comfortable save for Ruddy.

Benteke wins the header but can only direct his effort over afterbeing crowded out by Norwich's defence.

Agbonlahor wins the first corner of the game for Villa as his run down the left draws the challenge from Martin.

Top sliding tackle from Tettey on Benteke as the nerves seem to have creeped into both teams after a very scrappy opening.

J Bennett plays a searching ball down the left but Martin's header interception concedes a corner as Villa play short from the throw-in.

Holt gets involved as the visitors knock the ball around nicely. Bennett is found by Hoolahan but his poor ball into the box sails out of play.

Albrighton pounces on a poor clearance by Bennett, but his first touch ends up gifting the ball back to Garrido as both defences begin nervily.

Norwich get this first Premier League game of the weekend underway.

Dave Birch writes: "I've just got inside the ground and heard the team and I'm sat here scratching my head. I totally trusted Paul Lambert as the man to sort us out and take us forward but I'm beginning to think this is to big a job for Lambert. I can't understand why he won't play a striker who's scored almost half of our goals in the league. He obviously don't fancy Bent....I just hope this didn't come back to bite him."

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

Norwich: Ruddy, Russell Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Elliott Bennett, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Holt. Subs: Rudd, Snodgrass, Howson, Jackson, Morison, Barnett, Ryan Bennett.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Herd, Vlaar, Lowton, Bennett, Albrighton, El Ahmadi, Holman, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke. Subs: Given, Ireland, Bent, Westwood, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj.

And here are the teams....

Gabriel Sutton writes: "Aston Villa do seem to be struggling to score at the moment, 6 goals from 8 games is a poor return and their problems could be deepened if reports of Darren Bents rift with Lambert hold value. The Scotsman's old club, Norwich, will be buoyed by beating Arsenal last week and I've got a feeling they can actually get a win against what might be a somewhat unsettled Villa team. 0-1, Holt to score."

Some early team news to bring you. Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is axed for the third time in four games for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich. Christian Benteke is preferred up front, with Lambert also recalling midfielder Marc Albrighton and defender Chris Herd in place of Stephen Ireland and the injured Nathan Baker. Norwich manager Chris Hughton keeps faith with the side which triumphed 1-0 against Arsenal last weekend.

Villa are 10/11 to take all three points from the Canaries this afternoon. Norwich are 3/1 to get a much-needed win, with the draw 12/5. Christian Benteke has been enhanced to 6/1 to open the scoring for the home side, with Grant Holt boosted to 15/2 to notch first for Chris Hughton's men.

Good morning one and all and welcome to Villa Park for live coverage of the Barclays Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Norwich. As Paul Lambert prepares to his face his former club, the Villa boss could most certainly do with victory to appease the Villa faithful after consecutive Premier League defeats. For Chris Hughton, victory over Arsenal last week provided a kick start that their season desperately needed and they'll be looking to continue that momentum this afternoon. If you'd like to drop me a line today you can send an e-mail to jack.woodfield@bskyb.com or tweet @JWoodfield365

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