Aston Villa took no liberties as they breezed past League Two outfit Crewe Alexandra with a 6-1 drubbing.
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Aston Villa Starting XI: Jed Steer, Ahmed Elmohamady (C), Ezri Konsa, Kortney Hause, Matt Targett, Marvelous Nakamba, Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury, Jota Peleteiro, Anwar El Ghazi, Keinan Davis
Subs: Orjan Nyland, Douglas Luiz, Jack Grealish, Frédéric Guilbert, Aaron Tshibola, Jacob Ramsey, Cameron Archer
Aston Villa’s line-up for their first cup outing of the season against Crewe Alexandra consisted of first starts of the competitive season for Ezri Konsa, Kortney Hause, Marvelous Nakamba, Henri Lansbury and Keinan Davis.
It also saw Ahmed Elmohamady take the captain’s armband, whilst the bench saw Orjan Nyland return to the fray after a lengthy injury, Aaron Tshibola return from relative obscurity and youngsters Jacob Ramsey and Cameron Archer also found themselves involved in the matchday squad.
Ezri Konsa opened the scoring early on into the game – four minutes in fact – after a few mistakes by Crewe allowed Kortney Hause to flick a ball back across the face of goal towards Konsa, who headed into the net.
Aston Villa were enjoying most of the attacks for the first fifteen, but Crewe Alexandra were attempting to work their way back into the game.
Crewe thought they had worked their way back into the game in the 17th through Dale but the goal was called offside.
Aston Villa had their second in the 24th minute, with Jota playing a sublime ball over the top to Henri Lansbury, who drew the Alexandra ‘keeper off of his line before playing a squad ball for Conor Hourihane to tap home.
Matt Targett was subbed off just before the half-time mark after picking up a knock earlier in the game, and was replaced by Frédéric Guilbert.
Conor Hourihane then grabbed his second right on the brink of the half, as El Ghazi played a cross into the box from the left and the Irishman headed in comfortably – giving Dean Smith some selection headaches for the Crystal Palace game on the weekend.
Crewe Alexandra started the second half with a substitution, bringing on Chuma Anene.
Dale came close to finally getting his goal just before the 50 minute mark with a shot to the far post which whizzed just wide.
Anwar El Ghazi came close in the 58th as Keinan Davis held the ball up well in the middle of the park before playing a sublime ball through to Anwar who’s shot rounded the keeper but bounced back out from the post.
Jack Grealish got his first foray into cup football this season as he replaced Jota in the 68th minute.
And he made an immediate impact with a pitch-perfect dribble forwards into the Crewe box, before playing a ball across the face of goal in for Keinan Davis who thundered his shot into the net – with a little help from the Crewe ‘keeper’s arm.
Frédéric Guilbert opened his account for Aston Villa in the 76th as he made it five with a wonderful strike, rushing away from a marker to a corner played across the floor, before turning on a dime and firing into the far corner of the net.
The 81st minute saw Cameron Archer make his senior debut for Aston Villa, replacing the scorer of the fourth goal – Keinan Davis.
Two minutes later, Crewe scored a consolation goal through midfielder Ryan Wintle, who breezed past Guilbert and Nakamba before slotting into the bottom left.
Jack Grealish got in on the action too after Cameron Archer won the ball from some lackadaisical defending from Crewe, before playing the ball to Elmohamady to crossed high into the box for El Ghazi and Lansbury to recover. Lansbury played the ball back into a central position for Grealish to stroke home.
Anwar El Ghazi was involved in an altercation towards the end of added time, but Grealish’s goal was the last key moment in the game.
For those wondering about the performance of Marvelous, we’ll let this tweet do the talking: