Regardless of the level of opposition, the Carabao Cup tie against Crewe Alexandra showed that there’s plenty of quality in this Aston Villa squad.
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Aston Villa demolished League Two outfit Crewe Alexandra in a 6-1 rout at the Gretsy Stadium this evening, showcasing the depth of talent and quality in the current Aston Villa squad.
A number of players who were yet to make their debut for the side, including Matt Targett, Ezri Konsa and Marvelous Nakamba were given the nod to display what they could do in the Carabao Cup.
And with a result like the side achieved tonight, despite the disparity in league position between the two teams, Dean Smith will certainly have some selection headaches as the season continues to ripen.
Conor Hourihane does what he always seems to do when his position in the starting eleven is at risk – and that’s impress. The midfielder popped up with two well taken goals and could have had a hat-trick if things had gone his way just a little bit more. It’s a shame that two of Aston Villa’s stand-out players are in his natural playing position as the Republic of Ireland international is often a stand out performer.
That being said, his midfield compatriot Henri Lansbury had an exceptional game too. The former Nottingham Forest captain, who’s time at Aston Villa has been littered with injury created three of the six goals this evening, showcasing the talent that saw Steve Bruce sign the midfielder all those years ago.
The final piece of the midfield triangle, Marvelous Nakamba, had a relatively quiet game – a sign that a defensive midfielder is doing his job. He still popped up with a number of exceptional challenges and of course, the marvellous nutmeg that is spreading like wildfire across social media.
Whilst it’s unlikely that Douglas Luiz, Jack Grealish and John McGinn will lose their spots any time soon, the three midfielders have given Dean Smith somewhat of a selection headache with their individual and collective performances tonight.
The same can be said for Keinan Davis, who took his chance to impress with stellar hold up-play, destructive strength and an eye for a through ball which could have made the scoreline even more weighted in Aston Villa’s favour. He also topped off his performance with a well-taken goal.
The defence were stretched at times, but Ezri Konsa and Kortney Hause deputised well in the place of Bjorn Engels and Tyrone Mings – and the former was the first name on the score sheet this evening. Jed Steer also made good with his first appearance since the signing of Tom Heaton in the summer.
It’s not a case of the performers winning a place in the starting eleven against Crystal Palace or the like, but it shows that there are hungry footballers at Aston Villa who are providing healthy competition for a place to start in the Premier League this season.
There’s also the youngsters. Whilst the likes of Callum O’Hare have departed on season long loans, there’s the even younger Jacob Ramsey and Cameron Archer who were involved with the matchday squad this evening. Archer even got a run-out and was a vital component in one of the goals.
Should injury come knocking at any of the players that you would expect to be on a matchday teamsheet, the ability is there to adequately replace them – and whilst the skill set may not be completely matched, each of the players at Dean Smith’s disposal can offer something to the style of football that the manager is trying to deploy.
It’s been a while since Aston Villa had such quality amongst their ranks, and with such quality available, it can only bode well for the future.