Ross Barkley powered home a 90th-minute winner at Leicester to maintain Aston Villa’s perfect Premier League start.
Villa are now up to second in the table after winning four from their first four games. Dean Smith’s side were bold, brave and resolute once more and rallied until the very end with Barkley striking home sweetly from 25 yards to win it.
After another outstanding victory against high-flying Leicester, here’s how we rated Villa’s players:
Saved well to deny Castagne at the front post in the first half. Showcased good distribution once more, pinging balls out to Targett on the left flank. Kept encouraging from his area. Always a reassuring voice. Made a clever stop to deny Tielemans’ deflected effort from range on the hour-mark. Solid once more and another clean sheet. 7.5
Started brightly at right-back once more. Looked to play inside whenever possible to spring a Villa attack. Caught out when he attempted to shoulder-barge Harvey Barnes – only to get it all wrong before fouling the Leicester winger and was booked for doing so. Always an out-ball in the second half and improved. 7
Cool as a cucumber yet again alongside Tyrone Mings. Always makes the right decisions and has blossomed as a Premier League centre-half. Went agonisingly close just after the break after heading inches wide from Grealish’s whipped corner. 7
Misplaced a couple of passes in the first 45 but made up for it by winning the majority of his aerial duels. Allowed Iheanacho to drop deep at times, allowing the Nigerian to turn and run at Villa’s back four. Again, the Villa man improved in the second half and shut Leicester out. 7
Found the ever-advancing Castagne a tough customer with the Belgian bombing on from right-back at every given opportunity. Picked out Grealish well for Trezeguet’s chance in the first half. Saw a few of his crosses fail to beat the first man, though. 6.5
Had Villa’s best chance of the opening half, ghosting in from the right to get something on Grealish’s cut-back. James Justin did enough to put him off, though. Worked hard once more before being replaced by Traore. 7
A tough first 45 for the Brazilian who wasn’t allowed to get on the ball, Dennis Praet and Iheanacho blocking passing lanes into him. It meant Douglas failed to get a tempo going and it meant the likes of Ross Barkley and Grealish had to drop deep. Booked for bringing down Maddison in the second half. Did brilliant to block Perez’s goal-bound effort with a little over 10 to go. 7
Did well in the middle once more and pinged the odd cross-field pass out to Targett which got Villa up the pitch amid Leicester’s pressure. Booked for bringing down Tielemans. Wasteful when put through by Grealish with the Scot failing to pick out Watkins or Trezeguet. Assisted Barkley. 7
Fresh from being the talk of the nation after his Nations League snub with England, Grealish produced moments of class including a cute back-heel to feed Targett down the left. Grealish was the instigator for Trezeguet’s chance but the Egyptian failed to convert. Enjoyed a really good battle with the game Castagne. Grealish was by far Villa’s most-dangerous player and burst forward at every opportunity. Almost assisted Konsa for his header which squirmed inches wide. Should have slipped in Watkins earlier during a late breakaway. An absolute wizard with the ball at his feet, showcased incredible close-control that bamboozled Leicester’s defenders. Screamed the loudest inside the King Power when Barkley’s strike flew in. Star man. 8.5*
Initially struggled to live up to the standards set a fortnight ago – but he wasn’t the only one. Barkley grew frustrated at the King Power in the first 45 and failed to maintain a rhythm playing as a No.10 – but boy did he announce himself in a Villa shirt once more with a stunning strike from range to win it at the death. Barkley, 26, grew as the game went on and oozed class with his powerful runs from deep in the second half. Villa’s match-winner. 8.5
Definitely hurt his ankle inside the opening minutes and, after hobbling around, attempted to run it off. The striker couldn’t get going and wasn’t given the service to do so. Early knock affected his game. Sliced at thin air from Targett’s deep delivery while, seconds later, lacked conviction when picked out by Barkley. An off-night. 6.5
Bertrand Traore (on for Trezeguet, 80)
Slotted in on the right-hand side in a like-for-like change as Smith looked for a bit of late magic. Headed at Schmeichel on 89 minutes after being picked out at the back post. N/A
Subs not used: Steer, Engels, Elmohamady, Nakamba, Hourihane, El Ghazi.
Leicester City, 4-1-4-1: Schmeichel; Castagne, Evans, Fofana, Justin; Mendy (Choudhury, 78); Perez, Tielemans, Praet (Maddison, 67), Barnes; Iheanacho (Slimani, 70). Subs: Morgan, Albrighton, Ward, Under.
Aston Villa: Barkley (90)
The ref: Jon Moss
VAR: Graham Scott
Next up: Leeds United at Villa Park; Premier League, Friday, October 23 (8pm kick-off).