Aston Villa manager Dean Smith responds to Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi headbutt

17 Sep

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has played down the angry clash between Villans stars Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi during Monday night’s 0-0 draw with West Ham.

El Ghazi appeared to try and headbutt his team-mate after Mings berated the winger for not tracking back late in the first-half at Villa Park.

El Ghazi appeared to try to headbutt team-mate Mings in the first-half
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It was the main talking point of an eventful goalless draw, with the pair being separated by midfielder Marvelous Nakamba before referee Mike Dean stepped in, telling both players: ‘You’re on the same team!’

El Ghazi could have been sent off for his actions and the incident was checked by VAR, but the Villa forward escaped a red card.

Villa captain Jack Grealish insisted the duo’s grudge didn’t last long and it was ‘put to bed’ at half-time.

And Smith has confirmed both Mings and El Ghazi shook hands and put the incident behind them before they both played on for the second-half.

“I didn’t need to deal with it, the players dealt with it,” said Smith.

“It was dealt with by the players in the dressing room and I’m happy for that to happen, that’s the spirit in the dressing room.

Anwar El Ghazi and Tyrone Mings put their differences aside during half-time, says Dean Smith

“Things happen in team sport in the heat of the moment and it was sorted very quickly. At half-time they spoke about it, shook hands and we move on.”

Smith was more concerned that his team failed to make the most of Arthur Masuaku’s dismissal in the 67th minute, with West Ham the more threatening despite their numerical disadvantage.

“What is disappointing is that we played just over 20 minutes against 10 men and couldn’t take advantage of that,” he added.

“We lost our structure and made mistakes and at times lost emotional control during that last 20 minutes or so.”

Dean Smith was disappointed his side didn’t take advantage of West Ham’s numerical disadvantage

Masuaku, booked in the first half, received a second yellow card for a soft-looking foul on Villa substitute Ahmed Elmohamady.

But Villa failed to really worry West Ham after that, instead inviting pressure on themselves through individual errors and silly fouls inside their own final third.

West Ham put Villa under pressure late on, with the hosts often leaving themselves two against two at the back, and in the end it was Smith’s side who survived.

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish insists first-half bust-up between Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi was ‘put to bed’ at half-time

16 Sep

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has played down the confrontation between teammates Anwar El Ghazi and Tyrone Mings, insisting the clash between the pair was ‘put to bed’ at half-time.

In the first-half of Monday night’s stalemate with West Han, El Ghazi appeared to try and headbutt Mings in a furious altercation in which VAR was used to check whether a red card should be issued.

Grealish has played down the fight between Mings and El Ghazi

Mings was furious with the winger for failing to track back as the Hammers broke in a counter attack.

However, Grealish played down the incident between the pair and insisted there would be no lingering ill-feeling between them.

He said: “It’s all handbags. When you’re out there, heat of the moment. As soon as we got into half-time, it was all put to bed. Shake hands. We all said that can’t be happening out on the pitch.”

El Ghazi appeared to try to headbutt team-mate Mings in the first-half
Sky Sports

Grealish also admitted his side were disappointed not to claim all three points after West Ham full-back Arthur Masuaku was sent off in the middle of the second-half.

He added: “I’ve just been back in the changing room and all the lads are devastated. It feels a bit like a loss, especially when they went down to 10 men.

“Even in the first half I think we had the better chances.

“Everyone tries to do a bit too much. I think when they went down to 10 men we got worse. I gave away too many sloppy passes. We tried to force things.”

Meanwhile, the emotions were different for West Ham, with Declan Rice saying: “I think we’re very happy with the point. We were a bit slow in the first half.

“In the second half when we went down to 10 we knew it was going to be tough but we dug in there, we played well and we still were creating chances. I think we can be happy with tonight’s work.”

Aston Villa forward Anwar El Ghazi appears to headbutt OWN team-mate Tyron Mings during West Ham clash

16 Sep

Aston Villa forward Anwar El Ghazi appeared to try and headbutt his own team-mate Tyrone Mings during his side’s clash with West Ham.

Mings appeared to be furious with his team-mate for failing to track back as West Ham broke in a counter attack.

But the Dutch winger was having none of it and the pair proceeded to engage in a heated argument.

El Ghazi then appeared to try and headbutt Mings before the pair were separated by midfielder Marvelous Nakamba.

Have a look at a clip of the incident below…

Incredibly, VAR then had to check whether there should be a red card involved, but decided that it wasn’t a sending off offence.

Former Chelsea defender John Terry,  Villa’s assistant manager, did not seem impressed with his players conduct on the pitch.

More to follow…

Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City aces among 10 Premier League players set to be dropped on gameweek two

16 Aug

We might have only played one game of football in the 2019/20 Premier League season but already players are being threatened with the axe.

There were some good, some bad and some ugly performances on the opening weekend – and numerous top-flight managers are considering ringing the changes.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane is one player who looks guaranteed to keep his starting spot after two goals against Aston Villa on the opening day
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Already clubs have suffered defeat and fearing they could be in for tough seasons unless they make important alterations to their starting XI.

But who are the Premier League players who are already facing being dropped to the bench?

Here take a look at 10 players who may not make the first XI this weekend despite starting in gameweek 1.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal)

With the Armenian dropping a poor showing against Newcastle United it really makes you wonder why the club chose to sell Alex Iwobi and not the ex-Manchester United man.

Nicolas Pepe won’t have to do much to improve on Mkhitaryan’s efforts last Sunday and we won’t be surprised to see the Ivorian in the starting XI.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggled to get going against the Magpies
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Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa)

The winger was always going to have a tough time upon promotion to the Premier League and it showed on Saturday.

Against Spurs he just couldn’t get going and wasn’t a great help defensively either.

If so, Jota could be the man to benefit after his cameo in the 3-1 loss.

Anwar El Ghazi will be under pressure
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Jurgen Locadia (Brighton)

His move to the Seagulls just hasn’t quite worked out for all parties and it can’t be too long before the Dutchman is ditched by new boss Graham Potter.

Neal Maupay’s brilliant substitute appearance in the win over Watford could see Locadia lose his spot in the first-team.

Jurgen Locadia only managed two Premier League goals last season
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Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

It’s not been a great week for the French centre-back.

He looked like he’d turned a corner at Everton, while the sale of David Luiz paved the way for him to be a regular in the starting XI.

His display against Manchester United might have supporters and manager Frank Lampard worried, despite an improved showing against Liverpool.

Fikayo Tomori looked good when he got off the bench in the UEFA Super Cup though and might get a run out against Leicester ahead of Zouma.

Kurt Zouma was careless against Manchester United and gave away a penalty
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Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)

A baffling signing in the first place, he’s surely only good enough for a spot on the bench even in this Eagles team.

Wilfried Zaha should return now his future is at Selhurst Park, until January at least.

Jordan Ayew was a summer signing at Crystal Palace
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Bernard (Everton)

A fine player to have coming off the bench for manager Marco Silva but he’s just not cut out for starting role in a team attempting to crack the top six.

Alex Iwobi should replace him, if fit enough, and will be a big improvement

Bernard will play his part in the Toffees’ season but might not start very often now Alex Iwobi has arrived
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Hamza Choudhury (Leicester City)

The talented youngster is likely to see his minutes curtailed by the arrival of Belgian midfielder Dennis Praet.

Signed from Sampdoria, he could usurp Choudhury as soon as the weekend and leave the England Under-21 ace on the bench.

The Foxes youngster still has a major role to play for Brendan Rodgers this season, mind you.

Hamza Choudhury has bags of potential
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Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)

It’s not that the Brazilian deserves to be dropped, it’s just you never know what Pep Guardiola’s thinking will be.

The Citizens face a tough Tottenham Hotspur test on Saturday evening – live on talkSPORT – and the Spanish managed may opt for the experience of Aguero ahead of the spritely No.9.

A goal for Gabriel Jesus against West Ham might not be enough to keep him up
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Marco Stiepermann (Norwich City)

Had the German been wearing his shooting boots last Friday, the Canaries could have been involved in a real ding-dong high-scoring thriller with Liverpool.

Instead, Stiepermann skied a couple of decent chances and might see himself replaced by Moritz Leitner, as he was in the match.

We’d like to think Daniel Farke will give him another chance, though.

Marco Stiepermann could have been a hero for Norwich City against Liverpool
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Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United)

Watching the English left-back being torched by Kyle Walker on Saturday was one of the stand out moments of the weekend.

Cresswell looked totally helpless and he now seems a long way from the player who has previously earned three England caps.

Manuel Pellegrini may now turn to Arthur Masuaku as the Hammers take on Brighton.

Aaron Cresswell will be glad to see the back of Manchester City
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Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go-to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

What you need to know about Aston Villa’s 12 new signings, including Marvelous Nakamba and Wesley Moraes

2 Aug

Aston Villa have been very busy in the transfer market this summer as they prepare for life back in the Premier League.

The club’s board have made TWELVE signings in the current window – one of their latest the acquisitions being goalkeeper Tom Heaton from Burnley.

Heaton joins Villa for a fee believed to be in the region of £8million

They’ve also completed a deal for Marvelous Nakamba, who impressed the Villans enough while on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Zimbabwe.

Given manager Dean Smith has signed an entire starting XIs worth of players this summer – and one extra. It’s understandable if fans may not be fully aware of their new signings.

Below you can see a comprehensive list of Aston Villa’s summer signings and some information about them all.

Tom Heaton

The keeper joins from Burnley for a fee believed to be in the region of £8million.

Heaton, 33, was in the final year of his contract at Turf Moor but has now gone to Villa Park. He started his playing career at Manchester United.

Heaton joined Aston Villa in an £8m deal after six years with Burnley
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Marvelous Nakamba

The central midfielder has joined from Belgian side Club Brugge for a fee of around £11m.

Nakamba, 25, represented Zimbabwe at the Africa Cup of Nations in the summer but they finished bottom of their group.

Wesley Moraes

The striker has been Villa’s largest investment in this window so far, having forked out £22m for his services.

Like Nakamba, Brazilian Wesley signed from Club Brugge where he scored 14 goals in 46 appearances last term.

Wesley has scored two goals in three pre-season matches for his new club
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Tyrone Mings

Villa secured the permanent signing of defender Mings from Bournemouth this summer for just over £20m.

His signature was a must as the centre-back played a pivotal role in helping Villa’s promotion charge during the second half of 2018/19.

Douglas Luiz

The 21-year-old arrives with some pedigree having been bought from Manchester City for around £15m.

He’s also made appearances for Brazil at Under-20 and Under-23 level.

However, midfielder Luiz is still relatively unproven at senior level but has played in LaLiga for Girona.

Douglas Luiz jumps over Real Madrid star Casemiro while playing for Girona
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Matt Targett

The left-back looked like he was going to be a future star at Southampton when he broke into the first-team in September 2014.

Things didn’t work out for Targett at St Mary’s so Villa have taken a chance on him, paying Saints £14million for him.

Targett is hoping to kick start his senior career at Villa

Ezri Konsa

He may struggle for first-team football next season but signing Konsa may be a smart investment for the future.

The centre-back, 21, performed well for Brentford last season in the Championship and Villa have given him a route into the top flight.


This is a potentially very exciting transfer for Villa with Trezeguet bolstering their attacking options.

The Egyptian plays his international football alongside Liverpool star Mohamed Salah and started all four of the Pharaohs’ matches at AFCON 2019.

Anwar El Ghazi

Another player who was on loan at Villa last season, El Ghazi made his transfer from Lille permanent earlier this summer for £8m.

The winger helped Villa achieve promotion and scored the first goal of their play-off final victory over Derby County at Wembley.

El Ghazi celebrates Villa’s promotion via the play-offs in May

Bjorn Engels

Villa certainly have a lot of competition for presumably two centre-back slots and another defender they’ve brought in is Belgian Engels.

Engels was signed for £7.2million from French club Reims.


They must think highly of Jota if they were willing to make an offer to local rivals Birmingham for his services.

The right-winger scored three goals and supplied nine assists in 40 Championship appearances last term but should have more of an impact with better players around him.

Birmingham City star man Jota made the switch to bitter rivals, and newly promoted, Aston Villa
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Kortney Hause

Villa have also bought a player from rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the form of defender Hause for £3m.

The 24-year-old usually plays as a centre-back but can play out on the left which could help him make more appearances in the first-team.

Hause in pre-season action
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Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Aston Villa transfer news: How the Villans could look next season with record-signing Wesley Moraes, Jack Butland and Leeds star Kalvin Phillips

1 Jul

Aston Villa’s promotion to the Premier League was met with jubilant celebrations and sighs of relief from large sections of the West Midlands.

Dean Smith’s side beat Derby County 2-1 at Wembley to end a three-year exile from the top flight, but the boyhood Villa fan instantly set about building a squad capable of staying up as soon as the champagne had dried off his suit.

Aston Villa are back in the Premier League and looking to stay there

Villa have already signed Jota from rivals Birmingham City, while Anwar El Ghazi and Kourtney Hause have made their loan moves permanent.

Club-record signing Wesley Moraes is expected to be confirmed on July 1 once work permit issues have been ratified, with the 17-goal striker making his £22million move from Club Brugge official.

Smith is still working hard to bring Tyrone Mings back to the club, with the Daily Express claiming the Villans want to add six more signings to their squad.

Jack Butland of Stoke is an option in goal, with Ethan Ampadu, Leeds star Kalvin Phillips and Brentford winger Said Benrahma also under consideration.

Jack Butland currently plays for Stoke City in the Championship

With John McGinn and Jack Grealish set to stay after superb seasons in the Championship, Villa could quite easily have a squad capable of challenging for a top half finish in the Premier League.

So how could Smith’s starting XI for next season look? Check it out below.

Last season, Smith alternated between a 4-3-3 formation and a 4-4-1-1, depending on who the opposition was. If, for instance, they were playing a more defensive team at home, Smith would drop Grealish back into midfield alongside McGinn and Glenn Whelan.

This would allow Villa to attack from deep and get their playmakers on the ball to create chances for former loanee Tammy Abraham up front and then supply into the wide areas where the full backs were given license to roam past their inverted wingers.

Kalvin Phillips starred for Leeds in the 2018/19 campaign, with Aston Villa now primed to move for the midfielder
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While Whelan and Neil Taylor performed dutifully last year, the introduction of Phillips into midfield and Matt Targett from Southampton at left-back adds greater mobility to the side.

If, however, they play sides who expect to dominate the ball and will try to pass Villa to death, Smith can implement a 4-4-1-1 formation to solidify his team, with Grealish playing in a more advanced role to feed off scraps from the lone striker.

Dean Smith has a multitude of options ahead of the new season if he gets the signings he wants

Aston Villa sign Wembley hero Anwar El Ghazi from Lille on permanent basis

10 Jun

Aston Villa have completed the permanent signing of Anwar El Ghazi from Lille.

The Netherlands winger, 24, has agreed a four-year contract after spending last season on loan with Dean Smith’s side.

Anwar El Ghazi was Villa’s Wembley hero last month

El Ghazi starred in Villa’s Championship play-off final win over Derby last month, scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 victory which ended their three-year exile from the Premier League.

Villans boss Smith told the club’s website: “Anwar proved to everybody at Wembley how good a player he can be for Aston Villa.


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“He’s ready for the step up to the Premier League and he’s a young player who has an awful lot of potential.

“It’s now my job and the job of the coaching staff and Anwar himself to fulfil the potential that he undoubtedly has.

“He’ll be a great addition to the squad for next season.”

El Ghazi is Villa’s second arrival of the summer after the club signed Jota from arch rivals Birmingham last week.

Villa are also hoping to re-sign loan stars Kortney Hause and Tyrone Mings from Wolves and Bournemouth respectively after their loan spells at Villa Park during 2018/19.

Hause appears to be surplus to requirements at Molineux, while the Cherries’ £12million signing of highly-rated Wales defender Chris Mepham in January pushed Mings further down the pecking order.

Leeds United news: Patrick Bamford charged with ‘successful deception of a match official’ against Aston Villa

30 Apr

Patrick Bamford has been charged with ‘successful deception of a match official,’ the Football Association has confirmed.

The charge relates to the game between Leeds and Aston Villa at Elland Road where Anwar El Ghazi was sent off for his clash with the striker.

Bamford went down after a clash with El Ghazi
Sky Sports Football
Bamford ended up falling to the ground and El Ghazi was sent off, though replays showed there was no contact with the Leeds player’s face
Sky Sports Football

El Ghazi has subsequently had his red card rescinded.

A statement from the FA read: “It is alleged the Leeds United player’s behaviour in the 72nd minute of the fixture, which involved committing a clear act of simulation that led to Anwar El Ghazi being dismissed, amounts to improper conduct. The forward has until 18:00 on Wednesday [01/05/2019] to respond to the charge.

“In addition, Leeds United and Aston Villa have been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20. It is alleged they failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 72nd minute of the fixture. Both clubs have until 18:00 on Friday [03/05/2019] to provide a response.”

Villa manager Dean Smith had expected his player’s card to be rescinded, while Bamford has widely criticised for his part in the second-half chaos that was the 1-1 draw.


When Jonathan Kodjia went down injured for Villa midway through the second half, the away team stopped chasing the ball as Leeds’ Tyler Roberts slowed down as if to kick it out.

He didn’t and instead set up Mateusz Klich, who charged towards the Villa goal and curled the ball past Jed Steer.

This is what enraged the Villa bench, players and fans and, after things had calmed down, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa ordered his team to allow Villa to score an equaliser.

In between these extraordinary scenes, a melee in the 18-yard box broke out where Bamford hit the deck clutching his face.

It appeared El Ghazi had struck him, however, replays showed he went down with no contact from his opponent. The damage had already been done by that point as El Ghazi was shown a red card.

Leeds United news: Patrick Bamford labelled a ‘disgrace’ by Alan Shearer for getting Anwar El Ghazi sent off against Aston Villa

29 Apr

There was chaos at Elland Road during Leeds’ 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

The hosts scored a controversial goal before allowing the visitors walk the ball into the net.

In between these extraordinary scenes, though, a melee in the 18-yard box broke out where Leeds striker Patrick Bamford hit the deck clutching his face.

It appeared Anwar El Ghazi had struck him, however, replays showed he went down with no contact from his opponent. The damage had already been done by that point as El Ghazi was shown a red card.

Bamford went down after a clash with El Ghazi
Sky Sports Football
The striker was caught on camera holding his head after alleged contact
Sky Sports Football
Bamford ended up collapsing to the floor, with El Ghazi then sent off
Sky Sports Football

Alan Shearer, the Premier League’s top scoring striker with 250 goals to his name, was unimpressed.

“Patrick Bamford was a disgrace at Elland Road yesterday,” he wrote in his SunSport column, adding: “The Leeds striker should be banned for simulation and getting Anwar El Ghazi sent off.”

After the game, Villa manager Dean Smith was confident El Ghazi would not face suspension.

“Without a shadow,” he said. “I will be absolutely amazed if it’s not rescinded. We will appeal that. He doesn’t deserve it. We needed emotional control from everybody.”


When Jonathan Kodjia went down injured for Villa, the away team stopped chasing the ball as Tyler Roberts slowed down as if to kick it out.

He didn’t and instead set up Mateusz Klich, who charged towards the Villa goal and curled the ball past Jed Steer.

This is what enraged the Villa bench, players and fans and, after things had calmed down, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa ordered his team to allow Villa to score an equaliser.

“We gave the goal back. The facts are what everyone saw,” Bielsa said.

“English football is known for sportsmanship so I don’t have to comment on this kind of thing, which is common in England.”

On the decision to let Villa score, Shearer wrote: “I’m not sure players should get involved in kicking the ball out.

“There is nothing in the laws that says they have o when it’s not a head injury. But once one team has done it, which Villa did in the 59th minute, then Leeds should follow suit.

“Whether they should allow a team to equalise is another matter!”

Villa coach John Terry was involved in a row with Bielsa on the touchline – the Leeds boss waved him away after allowing the goal to be walked in, with Terry responding by pressing his finger to his lips

On Leeds’ contentious goal, Smith said: “Klich has apologised. Every credit to Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa for putting that right.

“I asked him and he agreed. He said ‘yes’. He apologised for what happened. Fair play to them. It was a good game of football until that moment.”

The only man who didn’t appear to agree was Leeds’ defender, Pontus Jansson, who was the only player to attempt to prevent Albert Adomah from putting the ball into the empty net – even sparking a row with his own team-mates.

Aston Villa confirm arrival of Anwar El Ghazi after beating Leeds to loan signing

22 Aug

Aston Villa have signed Anwar El Ghazi on loan from Lille.

The Netherlands winger joins for the 2018/19 season with an option-to-buy clause said to be in place which could make his move permanent.

El Ghazi was highly-rated when he broke through at Ajax

El Ghazi had reportedly been told to find a new club as he was no longer part of manager Christophe Galtier’s plans.

This news was understood to have reached both Aston Villa and Leeds, with the Villans ultimately emerging victorious in the race for his signature.

“I am thrilled to join a football club of the size of Aston Villa,” El Ghazi told the club website.

“I visited Villa Park late last night after flying in from Holland and it gave me goosebumps.

“I can’t wait to get out there and experience it for real and play in front of such passionate fans.”