Ross Barkley conjures piece of late magic to earn redemption for Aston Villa at Leicester
It was only 223 days ago when Aston Villa were thrashed here by an upwardly mobile Leicester, with Dean Smith’s squad appearing doomed for a swift return to the Championship.
Times have certainly changed, and this was further evidence of Villa’s progress since that dreadful March evening as Ross Barkley secured their fourth successive Premier League victory.
Barkley’s second goal since signing on loan from Chelsea was late, coming deep into added time, but lifted Villa into second place and the feelgood factor under Smith is tangible.
Two weeks after destroying champions Liverpool with seven goals, Villa displayed a different side with a solid defensive performance against a Leicester team missing the injured Jamie Vardy.
It was a moment of magic from Barkley which settled a bad-tempered contest, and Smith’s squad have won their first four league games for the first time since the 1930/31 season. They are also the only team in Europe’s top five leagues to boast a 100 per cent record.
Early days perhaps, but quite a turnaround for a club which escaped the drop on the final day of last season.
Smith said: “We never get too high when we’re winning and we didn’t get too down last season when we were fighting relegation. It is a really good start but we are just looking at the next game. We will savour what we are doing at the moment and look forward to the Leeds game.
More on: www.telegraph.co.uk