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Aston Villa welcome Stan Petrov back in 8-0 victory

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The New Era at Aston Villa couldn't be off to a better start, as Roberto Di Matteo's team dispatched Grazer AK 1902 with ease

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Eight goals to nil! You read that right, Aston Villa WON by eight goals.

Just five short months ago, Villa were on the wrong end of a 6-0 beatdown at the hands of Liverpool. Today, they may have been playing Grazer AK (who play in Austria's sixth tier), but it still feels great to get a win by such a large margin How the times have changed.

New manager Roberto Di Matteo used two lineups, as this is just the first friendly of Villa's preseason tour.

The team was set out in a 4-2-3-1 formation in both halves. To start the game it was new signing Pierluigi Gollini in goal. A back four consisting of Micah Richards (replaced by Alan Hutton on 30minutes after an injury), Tommy Elphick (wearing the captain's armband, Nathan Baker and Aly Cissokho. The two holding midfielders were Idrissa Gana Gueye and Gary Gardner. Carles Gil, Jordan Veretout and Jordan Ayew played in attacking midfield behind a man some thought we'd never see again, Libor Kozák.

Speaking of players that we thought we'd never see again, Stiliyan Petrov was back in the team, leading the squad out for the second 45 minutes of play, already in possession of a 4-0 lead. They'd add another four, with Joe Bennett bagging a brace (both free kicks!) and earning Man of the Match honours.

In goal for the second half was Mark Bunn. Alan Hutton stayed on the pitch, and was next to Jores Okore on the right side of defence. Joleon Lescott played left centre back and Joe Bennett operated as the left full back. The two holding midfielders were Ashley Westwood and Stan Petrov. Jack Grealish played centrally behind striker Rudy Gestede, with Gabby Agbonlahor and Scott Sinclair on the wings.

Here are the first pictures of Petrov back in action.

Winning both halves, even against a vastly inferior team, is good for the team's confidence. No other games are currently scheduled in Austria, but the next confirmed preseason matches are next Saturday, away to AFC Telford at noon local time and against Worcester City (At Walshes Meadow, Stourport) at 3 p.m.

Goals: Richards (10'), Ayew (17',35'), Kozák (19'), Bennett (46', 83'), Gestede (63'), Hutton (86').

Are you feeling good about the Villa? Or is it still too early for you to get excited? Let us know in the comments!

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