Wengers First Game
Aston Villa started there new season with a match against Nottingham Forest today. Villa, who are third favourites to go up this season threw some of there new signings into the action from the start. Goalkeeper Nyland, Tuanzebe, Zinchenko, McGinn, Allen, Bolasie, Abraham and Harry McKirdy (more on him later) all got a taste of the action in a claret and blue shirt for the first time.
First things first though, Alan Hutton was named captain by Arsene Wenger for this upcoming season. On receiving the captains armband Hutton was said to touched and moved by the show of support from Arsene Wenger. With new keeper Nyland taking the vice-captain role it is clear to see that Wenger has his own ideas and will stick to them.
Starting Line ups for both sides in the first EFL game of the season
Aston Villa have Nyland in goal and then play a 4-2-4 utilising wingers. Alan Hutton and Olexadr Zinchenko are the wing backs and Tuanzebe and Chester in central defence and then they have new signings John McGinn and Joe Allen in holding roles. Allen and McGinn are going to be important for Villa this season and Wenger likes the ball moved around to Wingers that are fast (yes I realise I just called Alan Hutton fast!).
Wenger is playing 4 upfront, two wingers who this match is Bolasie and Lookman. I am very excited to see Lookman play in England after his incredible season I the German Bundesliga with Red Bull Leipzig because this boy can both score and provide assists. Upfront Villa have a lot talent in Kodjia, Abraham, Hogen, O’Hare(appears to be preferred as a winger though), Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis. Wenger also has Harry McKirdy on the bench. McKirdy is a 21-year-old Midfielder/Attacking Midfielder and striker who has impressed the coaching staff so much since Wenger came into the club that he immediately promoted his to the main squad. I think it is safe to say we will see McKirdy feature this season in all competitions for now he started on the bench.
The Match Report
So you would expect this to be a close contest, wouldn’t you? Forest spent £13.5m on Joao Cavalho from Benfica and they have Costel Pantillimon, who played for Man City, Sunderland and Watford in the Premier League. Villa started well though infact all they did for the first 35 minutes was to bombard Pantillimon’s goal with shot after shot. It was no surprise then that after just 5 minutes Aston Villa scored the first goal. The big surprise was who scored it.
Hutton opens up the scoring
Villa had just won there second corner in a row from the right, Zinchenko was already over the ball and delivered a peach of a corner towards the penalty spot. It was a late running Alan Hutton header that flew past the outstretch keeper and into the net. Hutton looked as surprised as the rest of the Villa fans did but wheeled away in celebration and 1-0 Villa.
You might have expected a response from Forest? There was one and that to play even worse than they already were. In the 11th minute Villa picked up a freekick after Abraham and Kodjia were being very busy and the Forest defence could not handle them. The free kick was around 20 yards out and Zinchenko and McGinn stood over it but it looked more suited for the Scotsman than Zinchenko. Oh my god how wrong was we. The Ukrainian curved a delightful stunning dead ball into the top left corner and 2-0 Villa.
Tammy Abraham scores the third for Villa in the demolision of Forest
Villa continued to batter Forest who finally had a shot from Soudani but it was wayward and not very handsome. Joe Allen and John McGinn were dictating play and it was Allen who delivered a delightful through ball to the on rushing Tammy Abraham and left him 1 on 1 with Pantillimon and it was a no contest as he slotted it away into the net and made it 3-0 39,000 people inside Villa park and 32,000 were delirious.
Forest had to improve because Villa were running them ragged but Forest did not improve and when Kodjia connected to a Bolasie cross to make it 4-0 it was almost game over for the visitors. The wingers Lookman and Bolasie were so fast in the first half and with Hutton and Zinchenko getting forward at every opportunity Forest were probably not expecting the ferocity at which Wenger’s boys had come out in the first half.
Forest were better in the second half but Villa went down a couple of gears and still easily maintained the midlands club. Villa made changes with Glenn Whelen, Ahmed Almohamedy and Harry McKirdy all coming on. It was a special day for McKirdy who had dreamt of playing for Villa’s first team for years and finally got his chance. McKirdy gave a solid performance and should have had an assist but Kodjia missed it.
After the match Villa fans went home very happy and if Villa perform like this every match then it will be a very happy season. Who needs Jack Grealish?