Jack Grealish produced an influential performance as Aston Villa climbed out of the relegation zone after securing their second away win of the season with a 2-1 victory at Burnley.
Wesley, whose heel cost Grealish a 12th-minute opener at Turf Moor after VAR controversially adjudged the striker to have been offside in the build-up, eventually gave Villa the lead with a much-needed goal after 27 minutes.
- Heaton, Wesley stretchered off in Villa win
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Grealish then got his goal, doubling his side's advantage four minutes before the break with a powerful strike into the top corner.
Burnley, who were second best for long periods of the game, were handed a lifeline in the 80th minute thanks to Chris Wood's header, but Villa, who lost Wesley and Tom Heaton to nasty-looking injuries, held on to win what could be a crucial three points.
Aston Villa picked up their second away win of the Premier League campaign; one more victory than they managed in their previous full season in the competition in 2015-16 (W1 D3 L15).
Victory sees Dean Smith's side move up to 16th and above West Ham and Bournemouth ahead of their meeting at the London Stadium. Meanwhile, Burnley stay 13th, five points above the relegation places.
How Villa edged Burnley at Turf Moor
After a busy festive season for VAR, it was at the forefront once again as Grealish's 12th-minute header was ruled out for offside.
Burnley: Pope (6), Bardsley (6), Tarkowski (6), Mee (6), Taylor (7), McNeil (7), Westwood (6), Cork (6), Brady (5), Barnes (5), Wood (7).
Subs: Rodriguez (6), Gudmundsson (7).
Aston Villa: Heaton (7), Guilbert (6), Konsa (7), Mings (8), Hause (7), Taylor (6), Luiz (7), Nakamba (6), Grealish (8), Trezeguet (7), Wesley (7).
Subs: Kodjia (5), Hourihane (6), Nyland (6).
Man of the match: Jack Grealish.
A lengthy pause ensued after Grealish headed home Ezri Konsa's excellent cross and the goal was eventually disallowed because Wesley's heel was deemed to be in an offside position in the build-up.
There were some bemused faces in the Aston Villa dugout, but Smith was smiling again in the 27th minute when Wesley fired home from Grealish's cross to score his first Premier League goal since October - but the away fans waited for the VAR check to be complete before they celebrated.
It was far too easy for Villa against a Burnley side that were lacklustre from the start, misplacing passes and giving the away side too much time and space on the ball.
Grealish, the outstanding player on the pitch, benefited from the space and he thumped in a fine second in the 41st minute, with no doubt this time that the goal would count.
Burnley have had just two shots on target in the last three-and-a-half games and boss Sean Dyche reacted by bringing on Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jay Rodriguez for the second half with Brady and Ashley Barnes making way.
It had the desired effect, although Douglas Luiz should have made it three, shooting tamely at Nick Pope having again been given far too much space by Burnley's defence.
Burnley at least looked a dangerous attacking presence now and Rodriguez should have pulled one back in the 49th minute but could only nudge James Tarkowski's cross wide.
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith rang the changes for their trip to Burnley. Villa were beaten 3-0 by 10-man Watford at the weekend and Smith welcomed back Tyrone Mings from a hamstring injury while Neil Taylor, Marvelous Nakamba, Trezeguet and Frederic Guilbert also came in.
Burnley's team only showed one change from Saturday's defeat by Manchester United, with Robbie Brady replacing Jeff Hendrick out wide.
Wood then volleyed wide with the outside of his boot and sliced another effort off target before Wesley's afternoon ended on a stretcher following a strong but fair challenge from Ben Mee.
That was not the only black mark on Villa's day, with Heaton also needing to be carried off after hurting his right knee in attempting to keep out Wood's powerful header late on.
The former Burnley goalkeeper was applauded by all sides of the ground, but Burnley were unable to seriously test substitute Orjan Nyland as Villa held on for a first league win at Turf Moor since 1936 despite nine minutes of added time.
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Injury worries for Villa
Dean Smith admitted injuries to Heaton and Wesley "took the gloss off" the victory, with both players set for scans.
"We're not sure about the prognosis; they'll have a scan and we'll see from there," Smith told reporters. "Wesley felt something after the tackle from Ben Mee and Tom's was when he was trying to claw the ball out of the top corner.
"They're two big players for the football club so it certainly takes the gloss off it but it was a tremendous performance from the boys."
What the managers said…
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: "Disappointing result but the frustration is we didn't turn up today until half-time. You can't give any team a two-goal head-start and it wasn't through excellent play, it was from our mistakes. The only positive is a great reaction in the second half to take the game on. There was no shouting and bawling at half-time just telling them what they were doing wrong, reminding them of the basics.
"I'm glad we got a reaction, but it wasn't enough. We missed some big chances that you should be taking at this level. With the quality of chances we created we could've nicked something out of the game but you can't give teams that head-start.
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith: "We changed the system and I thought that we wanted to get on the ball and play. The lads looked really accomplished at it. We've only had a couple of days to work on it. A lot of them have played it before at previous clubs. We've been conceding too many goals and playing the three helped us getting an extra head in the box.
"The players were ready for this today. Burnley is a tough place to come and know how to stay in this league, but we felt we could compete with them. VAR played its part as per usual but we scored two great goals as well."
Man of the match - Jack Grealish
🏴 Most goal involvements by English midfielders in @premierleague this season:— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 1, 2020
1⃣1⃣ GREALISH (6 goals, 5 assists)
9⃣ Dele Alli (6 goals, 3 assists)
8⃣ Maddison (5 goals, 3 assists)
7⃣ Cantwell (5 goals, 2 assists)
7⃣ Mount (5 goals, 2 assists)#BURAVL pic.twitter.com/gj5ILCIXyX
So often this season Villa's captain has been an influential figure for his side, and at Burnley it was no different.
Grealish was the outstanding player on the pitch and his powerful strike for Villa's second was the icing on the cake to what was a brilliant performance.
If he keeps performing to this level Villa will have every chance of beating the drop and he will surely catch the eye of England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2020.
- Aston Villa recorded their first away victory at Burnley since March 1959 (2-0 in the FA Cup), having previously gone 14 trips there without a win across all competitions (D6 L8).
- Burnley suffered their first Premier League defeat against a team starting the day in the relegation zone since August 2018 (2-4 v Fulham), ending a run of eight such games without losing (W5 D3).
- Burnley have lost each of their last nine Premier League games when failing to keep a clean sheet - indeed, the Clarets are winless in 18 games in the competition when conceding (D4 L14).
Up next for Aston Villa is an FA Cup clash with Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday; Kick-off 3.01pm. Then they are back in cup action on Wednesday January 8 as they take on Leicester in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at the King Power Stadium, live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm. Kick-off at the King Power is at 8pm.
Smith's side's next Premier League game is against Manchester City at Villa Park on Sunday January 12; Kick-off at 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports.
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For Burnley, they face Peterborough in the FA Cup third round on Saturday; Kick-off at 12.31pm. They then face a trip to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea on Saturday January 11; Kick-off 3pm.