Aston Villa’s pre-season returned to winning ways against Bristol City, with a resounding 3-0 victory.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to Bristol City’s Ashton Gate this afternoon for their third major pre-season friendly of the off-season.
Within six minutes, Aston Villa were ahead. A well-worked, flowing move found Jaden Philogene-Bidace, who finished confidently with a flick at the end of Watkins’ cross, past Bentley in the Bristol City net.
Ten minutes later, and Ashley Young came close. A right-footed shot from the edge of the box after Philogene-Bidace won a foul. Young’s free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar, and would have nestled in the net otherwise after beating the ‘keeper.
Dean Smith’s side continued the pressure into the half-way point of the first half, with Bristol City struggling to get into the Aston Villa half and forgoing a press, instead willing the Villans to break them down.
Aston Villa were able to make it two just before the end of the half. John McGinn swung in a great delivery from a free-kick, which Bristol ‘keeper Bentley made a meal of – palming the ball directly into the path of Ezri Konsa, who poked the ball into an open goal to give Aston Villa a stronger lead.
Dean Smith’s side did well in the first half and were mostly dominant – and could have had a goal or two more on another day.
The second half changed, a little. Bristol City started the half the better of the two sides, asking more questions of Villa and forcing Smith’s side into making sloppy mistakes. It was a far cry away from the dominant first half by Aston Villa.
On the hour mark, Aston Villa made it three. Anwar El Ghazi did well to connect to the end of a long ball by Kortney Hause, heading it on down the line before chasing it and cross it into a central position. Ollie Watkins was waiting with a diving header, finishing past Bentley with aplomb.
The second half very much fell into a bit of a lull, likely due to tiring legs, but the chunks of the half just seemed like it was John McGinn tripping Bristol City players.
Ten minutes from time, and Ollie Watkins and John McGinn were replaced by youngsters Brad Young and Hayden Lindley, wearing 43 and 33 respectively.
A good win for the side managed by Dean Smith this afternoon, while other players enjoyed a 1-0 win against Crewe at Bodymoor Heath.
Onto Sevilla, before the big season opener!