On the foot of Darren Bent, who nabbed his third goal in two preseason matches, Aston Villa beat perennial cup-rival Blackburn 1-0 today in Hong Kong. Some of the best coverage of the match that I have found can be read at Aston Villa Central. Here you will find Dan's live-blog (which started on his site, and continued on Cover It Live), and here is his recap. You can find the in-depth recap on the official site here.
Everything I've been reading about the match is encouraging. Initial reports on Twitter had the team lining up in a 4-3-3 formation, but that appears not to have been the case. Regardless, Barry Bannan got another chance to prove his mettle, this time as a starter. By all accounts, he performed quite well on the right side. And it should come as no surprise that Darren Bent did well. The more I think about it, the more excited having him around makes me. This is a team that will (hopefully) have a solid defense under Alex McLeish. Add in an absolute goal-scoring monster, and things look even better. I know we're all settled on a mid-table finish, but I don't think Europe is totally impossible. The real questions will come in the midfield.
Speaking of the midfield, it seems that Charles N'Zogbia will be in Birmingham tomorrow, and presumably a Villan shortly thereafter. The Wigan winger will be in town for a physical according to numerous sources. I can't imagine him coming if he didn't plan on signing, so I think we can all take this as a good sign that our left-side problems are not going to be as bad as was possible. This likely puts an end to Villa's transfer window, though a minor move or two wouldn't totally shock me.
I apologize for this being a bit late. I was hoping to watch the match before I wrote about it, and FoxSoccer.TV promised me it would be available at 8 AM my time. It is 9:58 as I write this, and there is still no match. When it works, FSC.tv is great, but when it doesn't, there is no pile of dung that is larger in the universe. /Rant