Going into The Cup of Traditions one-day friendly tournament, an astute Villa supporter would have fancied their team to lift the trophy pretty comfortably. After all, matches were 45-minutes long, this was the period that Villa were often excused of only being able to play for. And then of course, there was no 80 to 90 minute period in the game, in which Villa often come unstuck in.
It was as if this tournament at the Schauinsland-Reisen Arena in Germany was being played by Villa’s rules.
And so it turned out.
A breezy 3-0 win against hosts and lower league MSV Duisburg, followed by a easier than expected 2-0 win against top-half Bundesliga team, Hertha Berlin, saw John Terry and co, lift a rather hilarious looking giant version of a trophy that no doubt a few youth team and Sunday League playing readers have got at home.
Still, rather than fall back on the old ”preseason games are only for fitness’ excuse, it was nice to see Villa take care of business.
Winning in Europe Again
Villa belong in Europe. Older supporters need to remember that and younger ones, will hopefully learn that fact, sooner rather than later.
OK, it’s not the European Cup. OK, not the Intertoto Cup. OK, it’s not even the Peace Cup, in which we had to play four games and beat the likes of FC Porto and Juventus in full-length games. But winning in a European competition is always good.
If you’re in it, you might as well win it!
Thou Shall Not Pass
So far, Villa haven’t conceded a goal since new captain John Terry has been on the pitch, across three preseason games. That’s already an encouraging stat.
The ex-Chelsea player wasn’t called into as much action against MSV Duisburg, as Chris Samba was in the second game against Hertha, but it’s a case of ‘so-far, so-good’, in terms of enlisting his services for the season ahead.
Terry hasn’t had a proper test yet, in turns of opposition strikers he’s faced, but Villa’s defence seems to be composed in his presence and more likely to play the ball out, than last season.
We’ll probably only get a real look at Terry once the season kicks off, but it would be good to still have teams goalless against him, before the Hull City game kicks-off.
Gabby may have won the final’s Man of the Match, but for MOMS’s money, it was Chris Samba who really impressed.
Immense at the back, he was on the end of any ball that Hertha put in the box, and then he showed his usefulness at the other end of the pitch, with the opening goal in the final.
If Samba can stay injury-free, he may eclipse Terry as our most important new centre-back.
I don’t want to tempt fate, but in the first game against MSV Duisburg, Ahmed Elmohamady showed some very promising signs that he could give Villa proper penetration and width on the right-hand side.
His assist for one of Scot Hogan’s brace, hinted at the kind of service that will certainly help this Villa attack that has been long in need of ideas. He’s direct as well, and attacks with pace and intent.
Albert Adomah will certainly be looking over his shoulder now.
Certainly, MOMS will be looking forward to see Elmo’s progress in the remaining preseason games.
‘Feed the Hog and he will score’ seems to be the message Scott Hogan was sending out in Germany. His first finish certainly showed he’s not lacking in confidence and knows where the goal is.
If Villa are to hit their promotion stride this season, another major goal contributor beyond Jonathan Kodjia is vital.
While Gabby also scored today, it seems that Hogan is more the man you’d rely on to repeat the trick more frequently.
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First time in years looks like we have a decent squad rather than almost 11 fit players. Looking forward to Watford game.
Let’s wait until the Watford game to pass judgement on where we really are in terms of readiness for the season ahead.
You’ll find out soon enough where we really are, when the season kicks off!
think defence is almost sorted . But midfield /attack despite all the goals might need tweaking , but after today it might be interesting to see a midfied including Green, Elmo & Whelan
We might be overloaded for some unfathomable reason, but whatever we should be keeping Baker he put in some excellent shifts last season.
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