Aston Villa 4, Blackburn Rovers 1

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Aston Villa eased their Premier League relegation worries with an emphatic win over Blackburn Rovers this weekend.

Villa went ahead through an Ashley Young penalty after a Keith Andrews foul and Marc Albrighton’s cross went in off Rovers defender Grant Hanley before Stewart Downing raced clear to guide in a shot to put the home side 3-0 up.

Nikola Kalinic’s deflected shot looped into the Villa net but Young fired in to reassert his side’s advantage before Ryan Nelsen was sent off for Rovers.

This was the ninth meeting between these two sides since the start of last season, with Villa having won the five games in cup competitions and Rovers the three league fixtures.

Rovers boss Steve Kean brought on strikers Jason Roberts and Kalinic and, although the latter managed to get a consolation goal, Rovers never looked like turning the tide and their misery was complete when captain Nelsen was sent-off for a second yellow after hauling down Young.

Kean said: “We set up to try to nullify Villa through the middle of the pitch by playing three in there.

“We were excellent in the early part and trying to get a clean sheet as a platform.

“Villa started to get on top just before half-time and I felt we were getting a little bit deep.

“We said it was important to keep it tight for the first 15 minutes of the second half and then hopefully the crowd would get restless.

“Before the penalty we had a great chance ourselves and Brad Friedel made a good save and a minute later we are a goal down.

“It is a bad day after that. We found ourselves chasing the game and being a little bit open.”