Philippe Coutinho will go up "another level" after agreeing a permanent transfer from Barcelona to Aston Villa, manager Steven Gerrard has said.

Villa announced on Thursday that Coutinho will complete a £17million (€20m) move at the end of the season, having impressed in his half-season loan spell at the Premier League club.

The Brazil international has created the most chances among Villa players (24) since scoring and assisting on his debut against Manchester United on January 15.

Coutinho has also crafted the most 'big chances' – from which Opta would expect a player to score – in that period (five) to go along with his four goals and three assists.

Villa boss Gerrard expressed his delight at securing Coutinho's signature and suggested the 29-year-old will develop in the knowledge he has the full backing of Villa Park.

Asked why he thought Coutinho made the swap from Barcelona to Birmingham, Gerrard joked with reporters: "Probably my banter and my company to be honest!"

He added: "I was aware a little bit before it was announced, and I think it's fantastic for everyone connected with the club.

"You've seen the reaction from the supporters, it's very positive, they've seen him over the last five or six months play ever so well.

"He's still got loads left in him, in our opinion. To have him here full time and settled, I think he'll come again and go up another level because of that feeling of knowing where he's going to be playing for the next four years.

"I think he is a player that needs to feel wanted, he needs to feel support. Everyone at Villa is playing their part… the owners especially have made him feel really special.

"He feels really happy here, and it's fantastic that he wants to be part of this journey.

"I think you can't underestimate football happiness. In any walk of life, in any job, you've got to get out of bed with a purpose and with a drive and energy to enjoy your role. In football terms, that is to feel support from your team-mates, from your staff, but also from your supporters.

"If you get out of bed every morning and you're playing for an ambitious club where there's a journey and everyone is pushing to move it forward and improve it, and you're a big part of that and you're made to feel welcome and people want to build around you, that's very important in Phil's situation."

We are at the penultimate gameweek of the Premier League fantasy football season and a slab of fixtures means double matches for Aston Villa, Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Everton.

Balancing between premium players and those who can provide particular value could be the difference at this time of the season, whether you need to consolidate or make up ground.

Stats Perform has you covered with some Opta-powered recommendations below, so here are our suggestions for this week's picks.

ROBERT SANCHEZ (Leeds United v Brighton and Hove Albion)

While only one of these teams will have something significant to play for, Brighton come to Elland Road in good form, winning four of their past six Premier League matches.

Brighton shot-stopper Sanchez has claimed more clean sheets this season (11) than over the previous term (10), with shutouts achieved in Brighton's past two matches.

The 24-year-old has been a big contributor in that regard, with a save rate of 68.4 per cent from shots in the penalty area, trailing only Alisson, Jose Sa and David Raya.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (Southampton v Liverpool)

Setting aside Saturday's FA Cup final on Saturday, Liverpool need to win to keep their Premier League hopes alive, and they will likely have the majority of the ball against Southampton on Tuesday. Expect crosses and dead balls.

Alexander-Arnold has been involved in more goals among defenders than any other in the Premier League this season, with 12 assists among 14 goal involvements.

While the Reds right-back trails Reece James (1.92) from chances created in open play per 90 minutes (1.53) this term, among defenders he leads the competition for chances created per 90 overall with 2.74.

SON HEUNG-MIN (Tottenham v Burnley)

Seeking to back up Thursday's critical win over arch rivals Arsenal, there can be no let-up from Tottenham in the race for the final Champions League spot.

Spurs have leaned on Son for goals this season and he has obliged, already beating his best tally for goal involvements in a single Premier League season of 27, with 28 for the term so far. 

The 29-year-old has 21 goals, only trailing Mohamed Salah's 22. Among players with 10 or more goals, Son leads the competition for shot conversion at 27.3 per cent. His seven assists have also come in handy.

DANNY INGS (Aston Villa v Crystal Palace, Burnley)

Aston Villa's next two opponents are Crystal Palace and Burnley, against whom Ings has scored a combined nine goals.

With five goal involvements (goals and assists) against both clubs respectively, Ings has only had more goal involvements against Everton (eight) and Norwich City (six) in the Premier League.

The 29-year-old has the most goal involvements for Villa this season, with seven goals and six assists.

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is reportedly on his way out of Leeds United, with Manchester United, Aston Villa and West Ham said to be the parties most interested in prying him away.

Phillips, 26, has been with Leeds since 2010, but Football Insider has reported he has no interest in remaining with the club next season, even if they remain in the Premier League.

The tough midfielder followed in the footsteps of Wilfried Zaha and Jack Butland as the only English players in the 21st century to earn a senior cap while having never played in any country's top division, and confirmed his class at Euro 2020, starting every game and earning the title of England's 2020-21 Men's Player of the Year.

 

TOP STORY – PHILLIPS GETS READY FOR EXCITING NEW CHAPTER

Believed to be valued at £60million, this will be the first time in Phillips' career that he has a chance to shape his own future and pick a situation he feels can elevate him into the conversation of the world's top midfielders.

There will be a Paul Pogba-sized hole in the centre of United's line-up, Villa have signalled their intent with their move for Philippe Coutinho, and David Moyes reportedly has visions of owning the English centre-mid pairing of Phillips and Declan Rice – or replacing the latter if they cannot retain his services through upcoming the transfer window.

Phillips missed four months of this season – from December to March – with a serious hamstring injury, restricting him to just one goal and one assist from 21 club appearances across the Premier League and Carabao Cup.

 

ROUND-UP

Newcastle have made Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin a priority target in the upcoming transfer window, according to the Telegraph.

– Fichajes is reporting Bayern Munich have entered the race for Paul Pogba, while The Mirror claims Juventus are confident about the Frenchman returning to his former Italian club.

– According to Give Me Sport, Chelsea are looking to bring in Sevilla's Jules Kounde to replace outgoing defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

– Marca is reporting some of the world's biggest clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Arsenal and Milan are chasing 19-year-old Racing striker Charly Alcaraz.

– The Athletic claims that if Raheem Sterling is to leave Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window, it will not be to Premier League clubs Arsenal or Tottenham, instead favouring one of Europe's top teams in Champions League contention.

Philippe Coutinho will complete a permanent £17million (€20m) move to Aston Villa from Barcelona at the end of the season, it has been confirmed.

The Brazil international has enjoyed a resurgent half-season loan spell at Villa Park since January and has signed a contract until June 2026 after being effectively frozen out of starting contention at Camp Nou.

The deal, which will see Barca paid 50 per cent of any future sale of the player, brings to a close an unhappy four-and-a-half year tenure with the Blaugrana, who originally signed him in 2018 from Liverpool for a club record nine-figure sum.

Despite success in La Liga in terms of trophies, winning two titles and two Copa del Reys, the playmaker struggled to slot in with the Catalan outfit and spent the 2019-20 season on loan with Bayern Munich, where he won a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble, although the German giants declined to make the move permanent.

It has been his return to England under former Reds team-mate Steven Gerrard that has arguably seen him hit his best form since leaving Anfield, though.

Coutinho has played more than twice as many minutes with Villa than he did with Barca this season, and has notched four goals in 16 appearances for the Midlands club.

Gerrard said: "This is a brilliant signing for Aston Villa. Phil is a model professional and his impact on the group has been very clear since he joined in January. 

"With the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, he's also a valuable role model for our younger players who can only benefit from his experience. 

"As we look to build towards next season, it is incredible to work at a club that executes its business so decisively and smoothly." 

Steven Gerrard wants Jon Moss's officiating in Aston Villa's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool to come under scrutiny and says he is pleased the referee is retiring.

The second-placed Reds moved level on points with Manchester City in the Premier League title with a victory at Villa Park on Tuesday.

Douglas Luiz gave Villa an early lead, but Joel Matip equalised three minutes later and Sadio Mane scored a second-half winner.

Villa manager Gerrard was not impressed with the performance of the experienced Moss, who did not brandish a single yellow card.

Moss will retire at the end of the season and Gerrard could be in hot water after stating that he is happy with the 51-year-old's decision to bring his career to an end. 

When informed Moss is about to retire, Gerrard said in a post-match news conference: "Is he? Good."

Asked about the performance of Moss on Tuesday, the former England midfielder replied: "No comment, I just hope that it’s looked at. That's all I say. I hope it's looked at.

"Have I gone to talk to Jon Moss? No. I just hope his performance is looked at. I don’t want to be sour, Liverpool scored two goals against us and we need to look at that and I don’t want to cover over any cracks."

Sadio Mane has been speculated as a potential Ballon d'Or winner in recent weeks.

And the Liverpool forward is also gathering speculation about his club future.

The 30-year-old helped Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations in February and has netted 15 goals in Liverpool's Premier League title challenge.

TOP STORY – BARCA TO SWOOP FOR BAYERN TARGET MANE

Barcelona are ready to swoop in to sign Liverpool's Mane amid reported interest from Bayern Munich, Mundo Deportivo claims.

The Senegal international is reportedly interested in a switch and is moving into the final 12 months of his Liverpool contract.

Barcelona have missed out on Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland who will join Manchester City and are determined to land an elite forward this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry is drawing attention from several clubs, with Real Madrid among the clubs interested, according to Fichajes.

- Newcastle United have made contact with Philippe Coutinho about a move, reports Goal. Coutinho is currently on loan with Aston Villa from Barcelona.

- The Guardian claims that West Ham United are plotting an off-season move for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins. Villa would demand a £50m fee for the forward.

- Manchester United and Newcastle are both interested in signing Napoli's Victor Osimhen, claims Calciomercato. Napoli want 100m euros (£85.5m) for the Nigerian forward.

- Super Deporte claims that Sevilla are interested in a transfer for Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe.

Jurgen Klopp labelled Sadio Mane "a machine" after the Senegal forward kept Liverpool's title hopes alive with the winning goal in Tuesday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

Liverpool were aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of dropping points in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday, a stalemate that allowed Manchester City to move three clear at the summit.

The Reds then appeared to be in danger of seeing City climb even further ahead when Douglas Luiz put Villa in front in the third minute at Villa Park.

Joel Matip quickly restored parity and Mane got the decisive goal just past the hour, awkwardly rotating his body to meet Luis Diaz's cross and plant a header in the bottom-right corner.

That was Mane's 15th Premier League goal of the season, which have come every 182.3 minutes on average, making Liverpool just the second team in Premier League history to have three players (Mane, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah) reach that figure in a single season.

But it was more than just the goal that impressed Klopp. No player on the pitch engaged in more duels than Mane (16), and his manager wanted to commend the all-round work rate on display.

"He's a machine, I told him after the game," Klopp told Sky Sports. "He is a massive player, massive player. His physicality is brutal.

"He is a mix of technique, desire and physicality when at the moment everyone has a few yards in the legs – you can't see it [fatigue] with him, to be honest.

"Top goal, he is just a fantastic, world-class player."

On the goal, Klopp added to BBC Sport: "The whole situation was class. It was top class. Luis crossing in a moment when nobody expected it apart from Sadio.

"We did not have time to train and work on it, and I am happy in this moment he pretended to shoot and crossed.

"It is difficult for the goalie and all of a sudden he puts his head there, and it is nice and soft, but it was a goal."

The result lifted Liverpool back level with City on points, but Pep Guardiola's men play their game in hand on Wednesday against a Wolves side who have lost three of their previous four games.

Sadio Mane's second-half winner secured Liverpool a vital 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on Tuesday to keep the pressure on Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

After the 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday, Liverpool's championship hopes looked bleak while they were being held to the same scoreline at Villa Park, but the Reds' superior quality ultimately came up trumps.

Much of the pre-match attention focused on how Liverpool legend and Villa manager Steven Gerrard could be the one to further derail his former side's quadruple bid, and Douglas Luiz's early opener suggested a shock could be on the cards.

But Joel Matip swiftly equalised, and from that point Liverpool were generally the greater threat, eventually completing the turnaround just past the hour thanks to Mane.

Liverpool's underwhelming start culminated in a defensive mix-up between Kostas Tsimikas and Matip allowing Douglas Luiz to test Alisson and then smash home the rebound.

But the Reds quickly levelled through Matip in the sixth minute, prodding into the empty net after Virgil van Dijk beat Emiliano Martinez to a loose ball in the Villa box.

While Liverpool struggled to establish any real control in a feisty first half, the better chances continued to go their way as Mane headed just wide and Naby Keita comically mishit an attempt from 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.

It was a tighter affair in the second half, though Liverpool's next clear-cut opportunity proved decisive.

Luis Diaz did well to pick out Mane from the left, and the Senegal forward brilliantly twisted his body to meet the cross with a header into the bottom-right corner, with Villa failing to hit back as Danny Ings had a goal disallowed for offside.

Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling if he becomes available in the upcoming transfer window.

Since arriving from Liverpool in 2015, Sterling has accumulated 130 goals and 70 assists from 336 appearances in all major club competitions, and has 19 goals from 74 senior caps for England.

Despite his status as one of England's best players, Sterling has found himself on the fringes at times during the tail end of this season, playing just 28 minutes across City's two-legged Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

TOP STORY – GUNNERS TO EXPLORE STERLING DEAL

The Telegraph reports Arsenal intend to test the availability of Sterling in the next transfer window, when he will have one year remaining on his contract.

With Erling Haaland expected to arrive at Manchester City on the biggest contract in the Premier League, players such as Riyad Mahrez have been floated as potential sales to balance the books and give the club some flexibility going forward.

Selling Sterling, at 27 years old, could help City fund further moves if they do not feel he is integral to their success next season – specifically in the Champions League.

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich are said to be planning a move for Liverpool's Sadio Mane in the next transfer window, according to Sky Germany.

– Should Arsenal fail to reach an agreement on a new deal for striker Eddie Nketiah, the Daily Mail claims West Ham are the front-runners to prise him away.

– The Athletic is reporting Paul Pogba has told Manchester City he does not intend to join them when his Manchester United contract expires at the end of this season, favouring the offer of an unnamed club instead. The report suggests the favourites to land his signature are Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid.

– According to the Daily Mail, Aston Villa have made an offer of £12million to purchase Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona – significantly less than the £33million option that was included in the initial loan deal.

– The Daily Mail is also reporting that Sunderland are hoping to sign the younger brother of English Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham – Jobe Bellingham – after he became the second-youngest debutant in the history of Birmingham City.

Jurgen Klopp is overseeing "the best Liverpool team there has been", according to club legend Steven Gerrard. 

Liverpool remain in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple this season, though a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at the weekend saw them slip three points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City. 

Despite the Reds winning the European Cup and Champions League six times in their history, Gerrard believes the current crop is the best they have ever had. 

"Because of the way the game has changed – it's gone quicker, it's gone faster – I think you're probably watching the best Liverpool team there has been. That's due to the speed, mentality and intensity of this current group," said Gerrard. 

"But I say that without disrespecting previous Liverpool teams because I grew up watching them. The European Cup winners, serial league title winners – I grew up on all of that. I'm well aware they've previously had world-class players, managers and teams." 

Liverpool will have the chance to win the Champions League again when they take on Real Madrid in the final in Paris on May 28. 

But Gerrard's Aston Villa will hope to put another dent in Liverpool's lofty ambitions for the campaign when they meet in the Premier League on Tuesday. 

Villa won the corresponding fixture last season 7-2, but they have not won consecutive home league matches against the Reds since February 1998.

"We've got to make sure we're brave enough and show enough quality to hurt Liverpool," he said. 

"I'm never going to set a team up to just suffer for 90 minutes, but I don't want that to be gung-ho or careless. It has to be calculated. 

"At times we'll have to suffer but if we do that together and get through those situations, we believe with the form we're in, we'll have some interesting moments in the game. 

"That's what Tottenham did. They were organised, they were patient, and when their moments came, they did cause Liverpool some problems." 

Jurgen Klopp has questioned why Liverpool would stop believing they can win the Premier League title and dismissed Pep Guardiola's claim that the entire country wants the Reds to be crowned champions.

Manchester City moved three points clear at the top of the table with three games to play by thrashing Newcastle United 5-0 on Sunday after Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham.

A visibly angered Klopp heaped criticism on the defensive style of football Antonio Conte employed at Anfield and Guardiola also delivered a notable post-match interview the following day.

The City boss suggested "everyone in this country supports Liverpool" in a thrilling title race.

However, Klopp explained Guardiola may have been talking in the heat of the moment after the game, as was the case following the Tottenham stalemate when Klopp suggested he could not coach like Conte.

"I live in Liverpool, here a lot of people want us to win the league but even here it is only 50 per cent," he told a pre-match news conference ahead of Tuesday's clash with Aston Villa. 

"As managers, after a game, we're obviously massively influenced by games and situations. What I said after Spurs [the criticism of Conte], I wouldn't say it again.

"I said: 'they play like they play and are still only fifth', but that was just my feeling at the moment and I couldn't respect Antonio more.

"I don't know how Pep reacted after getting knocked out of the Champions League and of course, Liverpool made it to the final, we played Villarreal, they played Real Madrid.

"I have no idea if the whole country is supporting us, it is not the feeling when we go and play around the country. Maybe he knows more than me."

Liverpool are also four goals behind City on goal difference and Klopp says they must beat Villa, Southampton and Wolves to have any chance of dethroning City.

"It's easy to describe our situation. We drew, they won, the goal difference too. We can decide for ourselves how we see it. There are some facts but I try to help the boys see it like me," he added.

"I am not sure I said [the title race is still on] because it is obvious. We both have three to play, my concern is how can we win our games. We shouldn't add on points before games are played.

"Why should we stop believing? The perfect situation would be we were nine points clear, 30-plus goals but it's not possible, so let's go from here.

"Whatever happens tomorrow night if we win, it helps. If not, we train for the FA Cup final [against Chelsea on Saturday].

"Ideal world, we win them all. We have to respond. The only chance to win is to win all the games."

Klopp is looking forward to seeing how Liverpool respond after coming up against a well-organised Spurs side at the weekend.

"Having another game is cool but it's not that we have to overcome something," he continued. "When I said about it being a funeral, I meant the press conference, not the players.

"A draw was a normal result, especially against Spurs. We played a good game against a well-organised team.

"It's not possible to be perfect due to the part of the season we are in now. We have to keep going."

 Jamaica international Leon Bailey has vowed to not give up in the face of a difficult season at English Premier League (EPL) club Aston Villa.

The 24-year-old winger is back on the sideline for a third spell this term after leaving the field just before half-time last weekend.  It appears the player picked up what looked to be an ankle injury.  Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard confirmed that the prognosis is not as bad as first feared but the player will still miss the team’s fixture against Burnley this weekend.

"Leon Bailey won't make the game," the manager told a news conference on Friday. "He left the pitch last week and unfortunately this game will come too soon. I don't think we're dealing with a serious issue... but he won't be at Burnley.”

The injury is the third for Bailey, who has had a stop-start season to life at the club, with a thigh injury previously putting him on the sidelines for weeks, on two separate occasions.  For his part, the forward is determined to recover from his early setbacks and looks determined to return before the end of the season.

“This season has been very tough, but God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. The most important thing is to overcome all those obstacles in your way & never give up, that’s what makes you a solid/stronger individual,” Bailey posted via social media platform Instagram.

“I just wanna say I really appreciate all the love and support from everyone & I’ll be back VERY soon.”

Barcelona's financial volatility has necessitated a cut of overall wage spend, and Philippe Coutinho has long been viewed as dispensable.

Since his big-money signing from Liverpool, the incompatibility the Brazil international has represented has only been reinforced with loan spells at Bayern Munich and Aston Villa.

However, in need of funds, the Blaugrana have reportedly set the Birmingham club a timeframe for confirming his permanent signing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA GIVE ASTON VILLA COUTINHO ULTIMATUM

Barcelona have given Aston Villa until the end of the month to confirm whether they will sign Coutinho on a permanent deal, Sport is reporting.

The cash-strapped Catalan giants loaned Coutinho to Villa in January with a €40million (£33.7m) purchase option, but Villa have now been given until the end of May to finalise the deal.

Barcelona have reportedly insisted that the finances be resolved by the end of June, as it would help balance their accounts for the season. 

The 29-year-old has played erratically despite four goals and three assists in 14 appearances, not directly contributing to a league goal since early March against Leeds.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku has no intention of joining Milan or Newcastle United despite frustration over a lack of opportunities, according to the Evening Standard.

- Chelsea want to sign 20-year-old Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, Goal reports.

- Football Insider reports Inter Milan are looking to sell Stefan de Vrij, with Tottenham and Aston Villa among the clubs interested.

- Lazio are willing to lower their asking price for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to around €80million, per Calciomercato.

The Premier League witnessed drama at both ends of the table on an absorbing Saturday, as Manchester City and Liverpool continued to trade blows in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp's men downed in-form Newcastle United thanks to Naby Keita's first-half strike, before City responded by cruising to a 4-0 thrashing of Leeds United at Elland Road.

At the other end of the table, Norwich City were condemned to a record sixth Premier League relegation at Aston Villa, and Watford look destined to join them after Burnley continued their incredible upturn in form at Vicarage Road.

After another frantic day of action, Stats Perform looks at some of the key Opta facts from Saturday's contests.

Newcastle United 0-1 Liverpool: Keita continues Reds' run

Liverpool's bid for a remarkable quadruple faced a tough test when they travelled to Eddie Howe's in-form Newcastle in the first clash of the day.

However, Naby Keita's 19th-minute goal proved the difference in a competitive encounter, and was Liverpool's earliest winning goal in a 1-0 Premier League victory since December 2016, when Georginio Wijnaldum netted after eight minutes against Manchester City.

Klopp's side had chances to extend their lead, with home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka making nine saves, his highest tally in a single Premier League match. Since 2003-04, when Opta data began, the only Newcastle goalkeepers to make more saves in a Premier League game are Tim Krul (14 against Tottenham in November 2013) and Karl Darlow (11 against Tottenham in September 2020).

However, a 21st clean sheet of Liverpool's league campaign was enough to move them to the top of the table - only in 2005-06 (22) have the Reds kept more shutouts in a single Premier League campaign.

Liverpool have now picked up 40 points from the last 42 on offer in the competition, and the win turned up the pressure on City ahead of their trip to Leeds later on Saturday.

Leeds United 0-4 Manchester City: Visitors draw on set-peice prowess to reclaim top spot

The Reds were not top of the table for long, however, as City claimed a 4-0 win over relegation-threatened Leeds at Elland Road. Goals from Rodri and Nathan Ake both came from set pieces, meaning City have now scored 18 set-piece goals (excluding penalties) this season, their most in a Premier League campaign since 2013-14 (22).

Pep Guardiola's men have also kept five consecutive away league clean sheets, the best such sequence in the club's history.

After Gabriel Jesus had made the points safe, Fernandinho stuck a superb fourth goal late on, becoming the club's oldest ever Premier League goalscorer at 36 years and 361 days old, overtaking Frank Lampard in 2015 (36 years and 338 days old).

Leeds, meanwhile, are looking over their shoulders after another heavy defeat. They have conceded a remarkable 20 league goals against the two Manchester clubs this season (11 against City, nine against Manchester United) – a new top-flight record for goals conceded against the duo in a single season.

Watford 1-2 Burnley: Clarets' revival continues after Cork ends barren run

Elsewhere, Burnley continued their incredible revival by coming from behind to defeat Watford, making Mike Jackson the first Clarets boss to win three of his first four league games in charge since Jimmy Mullen won his first four in 1991.

After James Tarkowski's own-goal put Watford ahead, Jack Cork ended his run of 84 Premier League games without a goal with his first strike since December 2018 (against Liverpool), before Josh Brownhill scored a late winner.

The Clarets are now five points above the bottom three after winning three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2019, having won just three of their previous 21 games.

Roy Hodgson's Watford, meanwhile, look destined for relegation after becoming the first side in English top-flight history to lose 11 consecutive home league matches.

Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City: Canaries suffer another relegation at Villa Park

Burnley's win had other ramifications, contributing to Norwich suffering their sixth relegation from the Premier League – the most of any club in the competition's history – after the Canaries were beaten at Villa Park.

Remarkably, Norwich have been relegated in each of their last four Premier League seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, 2019-20 and 2021-22). They are only the second side in English league history to suffer relegation in four consecutive campaigns in the top-flight, after Crystal Palace (1992-93, 1994-95, 1997-98 and 2004-05).

 

Dean Smith's men saw their fate sealed after becoming the first team to concede 70 Premier League goals this season after just 34 games, representing the earliest point in any league campaign they have reached 70 concessions since 1956-57 (in their 34th game in the old Third Division South).

Ollie Watkins set the tone for Villa's win with his first-half strike, and he has now scored at least 11 more goals than any other Villa player since his September 2020 debut (25 goals in all competitions).

The full extent of the latest injury to Aston Villa and Jamaica forward Leon Bailey is yet to be determined but the team’s head coach Steve Gerrard sympathizes with the player’s situation.

On Saturday, the 24-year-old hobbled from the field five minutes before half-time, having suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury.  The setback was the latest in an up and down season for the winger.

Previously, Bailey spent lengthy spells on the sideline having injured his thigh on two separate occasions.  Since moving to the club from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, the attacker has shown flashes of tremendous potential but struggled to stay fit.  Gerrard admits the situation has been frustrating for everyone.

"It’s an ankle issue. In terms of the extent and the damage, I’m sure he’ll be MRI scanned in the next 24 to 48 hours. I’m really disappointed and frustrated for him because he’s worked really hard to get back, he’s been training ever so well,” Gerrard said.

Bailey started only his second match, since returning from injury, against Leicester last weekend, the coach had promised to give the player an opportunity to play his way back into form.

"We wanted to give him another opportunity off the back of Leicester to really try and keep him in the rhythm. You see how he started the game he nearly scores with a fantastic effort and a top save from Tim Krul,” Gerrard said.

"Not too far after that he’s got to come off the pitch. He’s frustrated, we’re frustrated and I’m sure the supporters are as well.”

  

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