Aston Villa were rocked by the news so many were expecting when the team news confirmed that Jack Grealish would be missing through injury. Leicester were always going to be a difficult opponent so missing your star player is never a good sign.
Anwar El Ghazi came in for Grealish while Ahmed Elmohammady replaced the injured Matty Cash.
Leicester quick out the blocks
The away side were quick out the blocks despite playing in mid-week. As good as Leicester were in the first half, Villa were as equally poor as they really struggled to get going. Even the absence of Grealish couldn’t explain the performance from Villa who simply didn’t turn up.
Villa were on the back foot from the off and at one stage looked like they could have been given a good hiding. The first sign came after just 30 seconds when Ricardo Pereira’s effort went just over the crossbar.
Dean Smiths men were living dangerously when Luke Thomas and Harvey Barnes also came close.
The visitors were soon in the lead. Youri Tielemans picked the ball up on the right who played a cross-field pass to Barnes. The winger found James Maddison in space to send a low finish past Emi Martinez and in off the post.
In less than five minutes, Leicester doubled their lead. Jamie Vardy picked up a loose ball following Elmohamady’s tackle on Barnes and took a shot towards Martinez. The Argentinian could only parry the ball back into the path of the Leicester striker who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Villa late to the party
Aston Villa finally turned up to the party after the half time interval. One can only presume a few home truths were told by the coaching staff in the changing room.
Bertrand Traore could have been one of many who were taken off at half time but Smith chose to keep faith in the former Chelsea forward. It took him just a few minutes to get Villa back in the game and payback Smith for keeping him on the pitch.
Matt Target, one of a few who performed well, crossed the ball but John McGinn couldn’t quite get on the end of it. It was enough to put off the Leicester defence however and allow Traore to tap home.
Villa were better but Leicester looked more dangerous. Maddison came close again but Martinez was equal to his effort this time around.
The home side could have pinched a share of the points late on but Tyrone Mings could only head Elmohammadys cross wide of the goal.
Anyone losing a player of Grealish’s brilliance will feel it on the pitch but that is no excuse for how poor Villa was, in particular the first half. Not only do they need to up their game but maybe they need to go back to basics to try and rediscover their early season form.
It shouldn’t take a half time rollocking to get going especially for a side that claims to have European aspirations.