Premier League

Aston Villa-Norwich City Preview

Dean Smith insists he will not feel any extra emotion facing Aston Villa with new club Norwich City on Tuesday.

Villa fan Smith was sacked by Villa on November 7 following a three-year spell in charge and took over at Premier League rivals Norwich just eight days later.

The 50-year-old has taken five points from his first five games and now faces an early reunion with the Villans at Carrow Road, but he is treating it like any other game.

"It's the next game to be honest," Smith said. "I was manager there a month ago and somebody made a decision where I'm not the manager any more.

"I'm not in control of that so I moved on very quickly. I'm enjoying life at Norwich and it just so happens to be Villa next. If it was Manchester City or Liverpool, it's the same.

"I made a statement when I left that football club and I stand by every word of it. They've moved on and I've moved on.

"In my 34 years in professional football, only three of them have been at Aston Villa. You move on very quickly - you have to."

Villa themselves quickly moved on from the Smith sacking by bringing in Steven Gerrard, who can be pleased with his three wins from five games so far.

However, Gerrard faces a different sort of challenge on Tuesday against an opponent in Smith who knows the Villa squad better than he does.

"That is something we can't change," Gerrard said. "He spent a long time here building a good team and a good squad and he had success here.

"That is the fascinating thing about this game - he knows my players well. But both managers have now put their stamps on their individual teams and may the best team win."

Norwich City - Teemu Pukki

The Canaries are the lowest scorers in the Premier League this season with eight goals and have failed to score in a league-high 10 matches so far.

There is plenty of pressure on Pukki to find the net for City, but the Finland international has managed just four shots in his last two matches, failing to find the net in both games.

Aston Villa - Emiliano Buendia

Buendia spent three years with Norwich and was their leading chance creator in his solitary top-flight campaign at Carrow Road before earning a move to Villa ahead of this season.

The attacking midfielder has created 14 chances in the league this term, four of those defined as a 'big chance', which is the joint-most for a Villa player alongside John McGinn.

- Norwich have lost six of their last seven Premier League games against Aston Villa, with the exception being a 2-0 home win in December 2015.

- Villa won 5-1 in their last away league game against Norwich in October 2019, having lost each of their previous four at Carrow Road before that.

- Norwich have never won a Premier League game on a Tuesday before (D4 L11), with only West Brom playing more games on a specific weekday without victory in the competition (32 on Tuesdays).

- Villa have won their last two Premier League games on a Tuesday, though this is their first such match since July 2020 (1-0 v Arsenal). They last won more consecutively on this weekday in the division between January 2008 and December 2009 (four).

- Villa have kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 Premier League away games, doing so in a 1-0 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford in September.

Updated December 13, 2021

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