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Aston Villa ease pre-season concerns with 5-1 thrashing of Crewe Alexandra

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A first-half Christian Benteke hat trick powered Villa to their first pre-season win.

Pete Norton

A less than impressive display in Aston Villa's pre-season fixtures thus far had some fans a bit worried ahead of the new season, but surely those fears will have been eased somewhat after a strong display at the Alexandra Stadium. Though it's never too wise to tale pre-season results all that seriously, it's certainly better to see a team clicking on all cylinders than not. And for the first time this summer, Paul Lambert's side put together the kind of performance that offers some tangible evidence of real quality.

Andreas Weimann opened the scoring almost immediately with a strike from outside the box. Less than ten minutes later Weimann was involved once again, setting up Benteke's first to put Villa ahead 2-0. Benteke added another at the half hour mark and made it 4-0 just minutes later, while Crewe managed to find their way onto the scoresheet just before half through Harry Davis.

The second 45 minutes were significantly less emphatic, with Crewe shoring things up at the back and a Villa side that featured ten changes less cohesive a unit than the one that featured in the first half. But Leandro Bacuna still managed to tack on another for good measure, striking emphatically late in the going to stretch the margin to 5-1. Though the difference in talent level is certainly something to take into account-as is, of course, the fact that this was only an exhibition-a four goal margin of victory is never something to sneeze at.

With the win, Villa's pre-season record now stands at 1-4-1. Up next is Walsall at Bescot Stadium on Wednesday before a trip to Dublin to face Shamrock Rovers on Sunday the 4th. Villa's pre-season wraps up the following weekend as La Liga side Malaga make the trip to Villa Park, and the following weekend the season begins with a trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal.