There's a lot to talk about from Tuesday afternoon's friendly versus Wolves, but we have to start with Libor Kozak. He's looked very sharp so far this preseason, but he was at his best as Villa drew 2-2 in their penultimate preseason fixture.
It only took Kozak 6 minutes to get on the scoresheet, his goal coming after some nice link up play between Hutton and Bacuna on the right side. The ball came towards the top of the box, Gabby let it run, and Kozak took one touch and finished beautifully for his second goal of the preseason. He could have had a few more in the following minutes as well, hitting the bar and heading just wide from a Jordan Amavi cross. After a quick start, the half fizzled out to an extent, not many chances for either side, as Villa went into the break 1-0 up.
The second-half started slowly, but soon opened up as the game became end-to-end, both sides with some decent chances. Wolves' center back Richard Stearman took Agbonlahor down just on the edge of the box, and it didn't look great for Gabby. He hobbled off, came back on to try to run it off, but was down just a few minutes later and was replaced by Callum Robinson.
In the 72nd minute, Wolves found their equalizer. Dominic Iorfa went past Scott Sinclair too easily, and found Danny Edwards at the front post, who deftly flicked it past Mark Bunn. It was a nice goal from Wolves, but the defending left a lot to be desired. Just 4 minutes later, Villa were on top again. Robinson collected the ball at the top of the box and managed to get himself some space to send the ball to Kozak at the back post for his second. Robinson's ball was most likely a mis-hit shot, but it worked out in the end, so we'll call it a cross.
That was to be Kozak's last action of the match, as he made way for Jordan Ayew, the newly signed striker wearing the number 10 jersey. With 10 minutes left in the match, Nathan Baker came on for Ciaran Clark, and it was Baker's error which led to Wolves' second goal in the 89th minute. After a misplaced pass by Baker, Benik Afobe took advantage and slotted it past Bunn to level the scoreline.
The match ended in a draw, but since results mean nothing in preseason, here are a few observations from the match.
- I have to start with Libor Kozak. He looked fantastic today, even apart from his two goals. His movement up top was extremely effective - I think he proved today that he's much more than just a tall target man.
- Jordan Amavi is good. Like, really good. Both going forward and defensively. We've made some good signings this summer, but so far, he's excited me the most.
- There's been some reports of Callum Robinson going on loan to Blackburn. I'm not so sure that's going to happen. Robinson has looked energetic and is good with the ball at his feet, adding a nice assist to his goal from Saturday. He's certainly giving Sherwood something to think about.
- While Jordan Ayew got his debut, there wasn't much to take from his 10 minute cameo. He ran around a bit, made some nice runs with and without the ball, but we'll have to give him a bit of a chance to get acclimated before we can make any conclusions.
- Mark Bunn is proving to be a very solid keeper. He couldn't do much about either of the goals today, and he's made some really smart saves over the past few weeks. At this point, I'd feel very comfortable with him as our number 2.