Never a doubt…right Villans?
Wednesdays EFL Cup clash between Aston Villa and League One outfit Colchester United saw the safe bet come to fruition. Although the EFL Cup is not a highly sought after trophy, especially for a team who is hunting for an automatic promotion spot, this was a good result for Villa moving forward. Steve Bruce should be delighted with the result with a difficult test away to Cardiff City slated for Saturday, followed by a visit to Reading on Tuesday.
Rising above their exit from the EFL Cup a year ago via a loss to Luton Town of League Two, where do Aston Villa go from here?
One might say that the quicker the exit, the better off the campaign will be moving forward. If Steve Bruce and company are to get serious about a watershed promotion push, it might be wise to bow out of the competition earlier, rather than later in the season as fixtures arrive thick and fast. Having a squad with a bountiful amount of depth would be much better used midway to later in the season instead of wasted on Cup ties.
Others would argue that what the club may need is in fact a trophy, no matter where they get it from. Maybe that is exactly what Villa need to balance themselves out in terms of pride and motivation. A Cup run isn’t something Villa fans are accustomed to, with the exception being the FA Cup Final in the 2014-2015 season that saw wins over Blackpool, Bournemouth, Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool before being trashed 4-0 at the hands of Arsenal in the Final.
Aston Villa will be revelling in their win this evening against League Two opposition Colchester United. Not only did they avoid repeating the embarrassing first round exit to lower league opposition, but they welcomed two players that suffered injuries last year back into first team football, and bled in a host of youth.
Callum O’Hare, Andre Green and James Bree all started the game, and other than Green, finished it too. The likes of Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis also made appearances.
The first few minutes of the game started shakily, with Adomah struggling in possession and Chris Samba whipping a foot way too high and giving away a free kick. Villa gave away another free kick shortly after through Josh Onomah.
Only a few minutes later however, Villa were 1-0 up through a Scott Hogan goal, with Adomah feeding a key pass to Callum O’Hare, who played a swift ball through to Andre Green. Green’s touch was heavy, and chaos ensued in the Colchester net as their keeper made a grave mistake, as the ball trickled out to Scott Hogan who buried the ball into an open net.
Not even a minute had passed before Colchester were back in with a shout, with Chris Samba, who had looked uncomfortable and shaky both prior and after the event, charged in clumsily and gave away a penalty. If it were not for Man of the Match Jed Steer’s heroics, Villa would have given away their lead sloppily.
For the first time in what seems like a long time, Villa manged a free-kick on target. Mainly because it wasn’t Lansbury taking it. Hourihane tried for a low shot around the wall, but it unfortunately was straight at the Colchester keeper.
Callum O’Hare had a wonderful start to the game, and didn’t seem phased about his first team debut. My notes produce the feeling that every other fan watching him had -“O’Hare – sprightly. Lovely to watch.” – He continued this throughout the game, and my god, did he impress. That back heel.
Villa went 2-0 up after James Bree’s tackle turned the tides on a Colchester attack and found it’s way to Albert Adomah. Now, Adomah was potentially offside, but other than that he was positioned well, but he played a great cross into the box which was slid into the Colchester net by one of their own players. Scott Hogan was positioned well and would more than likely have buried the ball himself, but didn’t get the chance.
At 30 minutes, Villa had 61% of the possession, and this continued for much of the game. It was good to see that we had such a strong hold on the possession in the game, especially after that part of our game has been lax in recent years.
The same player that scored an own goal, Kent, managed to either use his luck or instinct to get past Jed Steer’s Man of the Match performance goalkeeping to put Colchester back in with a shout.
Post half-time, not much happened. Rushain Hepburn-Murphy, Keinan Davies and Ritchie De Laet all got a chance to run out. Players that a regularly in our around the first team seemed to grow in confidence, such as Birkir Bjarnason. This was great to see, especially as he was playing out of position for 90% of the game.
Jed Steer continued his sublime performance with some incredible acrobatics, and O’Hare continued to impress and cause problems for the opposition. The youngster was booked for a rash tackle at one point, but his confidence didn’t falter and you can’t even fault him for the tackle. It seemed passionate.
It was a strong showing from a mix of strength and experience, which is exactly what fans were calling for. Not only that, but Villa were playing pieces of football at certain points in the game that would make most teams in the Championship jealous.
Man of the Match Jed Steer, in his post-match interview, said: “I just want to play well. It’s nice to get the win and Man Of The Match and I’ll work hard to get in the next Cup game.”
If he continues to perform like that, he’ll be pushing to get in the squad for the next League game.
Steve Bruce seemed impressed with what he saw and was happy with the performance in his “makeshift defence” as he so called it. He also revealed that the club had received a bid for Leandro Bacuna from Championship rivals, and that Amavi was indeed set to leave.
Aston Villa face Cardiff away from home this weekend, which will be a tough game. Hopefully some of the senior players that played tonight can take the winning feeling along with them, and the performances from the youngsters can give the older members of the squad a thorough kick up the arse.