Sunday, August 10, 2014

Aston Villa 0 Parma 0 - Match Report

In the last preseason game Villa played out a 0-0 draw with Parma. The first half was fairly even although Villa had the best of the chances with Andi Weimann came close for Villa on 11 minutes and Phillipe Senderos had a goal disallowed on 15 minutes.

Brad Guzan played in goals for the whole of the match and was his usual solid self when called up on. In defence Alan Hutton started on the right, he was often bombing forward and linked up well with Charles N'Zogbia. He put in a decent shift and the much maligned Scotsman must have forced his way into Lambert's plans for the new season. Enda Stevens started on the left. He still looks a bit out of his depth, but was a bit of an improvement on Joe Bennett. At half time the fans were introduced to new left back Aly Cissokho, hopefully he'll finally be the man to fill this difficult spot. In the heart of defence Phillipe Senderos looked useful and could be pretty handy going up for set pieces. He was accompanied by Nathan Baker, who wasn't great and committed one foul that would have had him sent off in a league game. I think that his first team opportunities will be pretty limited this season.

Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood started in defensive midfield. Delph looked fairly good, but Westwood seems to do the same thing every time, which means that he might get caught out in the Premier League. In the attacking part of midfield Charles N'Zogbia at least looked interested and he and Kieran Richardson looked useful on the break, but probably need a big target man if their industry is going to be rewarded. Richardson looked better out wide, not sure if he is good enough to play in the centre. Weimann and Agbonlahor switched around as the single striker and although both of them had good chances, they didn't look on top form.

The best news was probably the introduction of Concrete Ron Vlaar for Baker at half time. Judging by his body language he's going to stay and the way he commands defence means that Villa need to keep hold of him.

On 64 minutes Villa made a few changes with Darren Bent replacing Weimann, Jores okore came on for Senderos and Jack Grealish for Richardson. Bent was his usual lazy self hanging around the opposition penalty area or centre circle depending on where the ball was. A lot is expected of Jores Okore, but I think that his positional play was a bit off yesterday. The brightest spark was young local lad Jack Grealish. The fans love him and he looks eager to repay them when given the chance. Hopefully he'll reach his potential over the next couple of seasons. The only thing you could fault him for is passing to Bent who skied the ball over when he could probably have beaten 2 defenders and put it in himself.

On 77 minutes Joe Bennett came on for Stevens and Bacuna replaced N'Zogbia. Villa had the best of the chances in the remaining minutes. Agbonlahor made the same mistake as Grealish in trying to find Bent, when he could have probably done better himself. Grealish shook of a few defenders with 10 minutes remaining and Bennett sent in a decent ball to Agbonlahor who botched the job. There was one more effort when Grealish again found Bent but he hit the bar.

Grealish really made the difference today and despite the game finishing 0-0 at least Villa seemed to want to play attractive football instead of the hit and hope of the last couple of seasons.

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