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Scott Sinclair’s hat trick isn’t enough in preseason draw

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Aston Villa fell behind within 23 seconds, and blew a 3-1 lead Saturday, but Scott Sinclair showed his merits up top with a brilliant performance.

Ashley Westwood, left, congratulates Scott Sinclair on his hat trick goal at the City Ground on Saturday.
Ashley Westwood, left, congratulates Scott Sinclair on his hat trick goal at the City Ground on Saturday.
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Aston Villa may have a forward capable of replacing the goals lost by Christian Benteke.

Of course, it’s a guy most think of as a winger; Scott Sinclair fired home three goals in the Claret and Blues’ 3-3 draw with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Things didn’t start well as the Villa defense was beaten on 23 seconds by Dexter Blackstock, but after a period of awkwardness on the ball, the Claret and Blues settled down, and started to play some nice football.

Idrissa Gueye, Jordan Ayew, and Libor Kozak were combining well on the right side, and it opened up space on the left wing for Jordan Amavi. The left back put in a beautiful, perfect cross, and Sinclair made no mistake with a solid headed finish to level on 21 minutes.

New boy Jose Angel Crespo limped off in the 34th minute with an injury, and despite some nice chances for both sides, the teams entered the halftime interval at 1-1.

Forest started brightly again in the second half, hitting the woodwork, but Villa soon took control of the match as their man in the 9 shirt sent them off to victory.

Joe Cole, who came on at the half alongside new signing Jordan Veretout and centre-back pairing Nathan Baker and Carlos Sanchez (lol), played a through ball that seemed to be destined for failure. But it took the right deflection off the Forest defender, right into the path of Sinclair, who got his brace off the underside of the bar.

Sinclair then made it 3-1 a few minutes later, when he fired a rocket into the back of the net from 25 yards to complete his hat trick, before being substituted off in a double change.

Henri Lansbury, who assisted on Forest’s opener, scored on 80 minutes to make things interesting, and the home side equalized with the last kick of the game, when Nathan Baker was bad, and Kelvin Wilson made him pay, poking home from a corner.

Some notes from today…

  • No Jack Grealish or Carles Gil today, who both are still presumably dealing with their knocks.
  • Idrissa Gueye is pretty strong on the ball. I like the look of him.
  • Jordan Ayew’s movement is fantastic. I think we’ve got a nice player here.
  • It’s super awesome having a left back who can cross the ball, oh man.
  • We brought in Veretout, who’s a set-piece specialist, and let Joe Cole take corners. Whatever.
  • There’s a lot to be optimistic about, I think, and a lot to be worried about in the short-term. That’s quite fine, and natural.
  • Joe Cole actually looked pretty good in his 45 minute appearance. Good vision, good balls, probably has a role to play. All but confirms he’ll be in the Villa 25.
  • Tim Sherwood did some experimenting; Amavi slid up to the left wing for the last 20 minutes, Carlos Sánchez played the second half as a centre back, and the formation in general seemed unbalanced. We’ll see if anything comes of it.
  • Scott Sinclair can finish. He’s kinda like Gabby Agbonlahor, except better. He has to start against Bournemouth, right?
  • The Nathan Baker / Carlos Sánchez centre back pairing, with Lewis Kinsella at left back, wasn’t the greatest. Surprise!
  • Ready or not, here the season comes! Preseason is over. It’s time to be terrified.