Our five talking points return with a new season, as we discuss some of the key Aston Villa areas to discuss for Saturday’s game.
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A valiant Villa were defeated by Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur stadium after goals from Tanguy Ndombele and a Harry Kane double cancelled out John McGinn’s opener. Here are five talking points from the game;
Dean Smith sticks with trusted lieutenants
The team line up announcement sparked many a debate among Villa fans, Smith most notably going with Neil Taylor over Matt Targett and Ahmed Elmohamady over the unpicked Frédéric Guilbert.
Many pointed at the Egyptian connection with Trezeguet for the latter’s inclusion, but Elmohamady’s defensive ability was more likely the reason for his selection, the same for Taylor on the other side.
Team chemistry is an underrated quality in football, and so Smith also stuck with the Conor Hourihane, John McGinn and Jack Grealish middle three that did so well in the Championship last term. Expect the new signings to be bedded into competitive action slowly, they’ll get their chance.
John McGinn the man for the big occasion
McGinn, who scored our last of the 2017-18 season, took our first of 2018-19 with the composure of a seasoned Premier League player.
The Scot charged through the middle to take down Tyrone Mings’ long ball before sitting down Danny Rose and finding the bottom corner with his left. McGinn’s last two goals have come in front of a combined total of 146,233 fans.
Not only did he score, but the former Hibernian midfielder put in a typical battling performance and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. That five-year-deal is looking better by the minute.
A promising debut for Trézéguet
Trezeguet may feel he was a bit unlucky to be Villa’s first substituted player of the day after an auspicious first outing in a Villa shirt. The Egyptian beat Danny Rose on multiple occasions down the right wing and put in some dangerous deliveries too.
Some of his crosses would’ve been taken advantage of in games against lesser sides with more men pushed forward.
Not only that, but the winger’s movement was top notch too. A moment in particular stands out where he moved outside Rose prior to receiving Elmohamady’s pass on the run – a simple move some might say, but being a winger at the top level is as much about being smart as it is pace and delivery.
A need to keep the ball better
Be it tiredness or carelessness, the second half Villa saw very little of that round white thing and when they did it wasn’t used effectively. A key moment being Jack Grealish’s dispossession for Harry Kane’s first.
Let’s get it right here, it’s the first time Grealish has made a mistake leading to an opposition goal in my memory, but against top teams it just can’t happen.
After a matter of seconds, the same thing could’ve happened to Elmohamady after he dawdled and was dispossessed by Lucas Moura.
Wesley’s hold up play wasn’t up to scratch either, but these are all things which can be worked on.
A wall to build upon
Villa history is littered with solid defensive partnerships, and in Bjorn Engels and Tyrone Mings we could have another.
The Pride were bombarded with crosses from all angles and but the Villa back two seemed to be first to nearly all. It was almost comedic how often Mings would head away a Spurs corner.
Talking of Mings, the former Bournemouth man was in the right place at the right time to stop Eric Lamela’s goal-bound shot after Tom Heaton headed away.
Heaton himself also had a fine game in between the sticks, a point-blank save from Davidson Sanchez and a strong hand to Christian Eriksen’s free-kick an illustration of his Premier League quality.