Lineup: Johnstone, Bree, Samba, Terry ©, Taylor, Lansbury, Hourihane, Bjarnason, Amavi, Green, Agbonlahor.
Subs: Bunn, Chester, Hutton, Richards, Lyden, Veretout, Hogan, McCormack, Tshibola, Davis, Clark, Hayes.
The fourth pre-seaon match was uneventful.
The first half was a bore. Villa played decent for some of it but nothing convincing. First sniff of the goal came in the fourth minute with a good run from Andre Green -- the ball ends up with Gabby on the right of goal and he missed the target. A few minutes later Amavi had a header saved. A nice ball was sent to the far post where the full back turned winger headed it on target.
The hosts should have taken the lead 18 minutes into the first half when they opened up the Villa defense with some nice passing -- but the final touch was sent wide.
Bjarnason had three chances in short succession -- two headers wide and a snap shot from the top of the box which was easily saved. The Icelander was all over the attacking side of the pitch, probably the best Villa player in the first half an hour, and yet, failed to show the final touch to put the ball in the net.
John Terry found the back of the net for the first time in a Villa kit. Too bad the whistle had blown while the corner ball was sent in. It was a nice -- and really familiar -- Terry header.
The second half started with the same squad and appeared positive as Lansbury had an effort blocked early on as Aston Villa came out of the gates on top... but nothing came of it. Or really anything. But football was being played (by some at least).
Walsall had a half chance with 30 minutes left in the match and that lead to a sustained run of pressure from the hosts. Villa kept giving the ball away which didn't help.
Subs tracker (I think I got them all): Some subs came with 20 mins left, Terry off for Chester, Gabby off for Hogan, Hourihane off for Doyle-Hayes (Hogan did some good running once he came on -- with plenty of long balls hit for him to run after). A little later Bjarnason came off for Lyden (who didn't manage to earn a penalty this time out — but appears to love making runs forward). Taylor came off with nine to go and McCormack came on (moving Amavi to left back). In the last few minutes Green came off with Davis taking over. But wait there is more... Tshibola replaced Lansbury with a minute to go (because why not?).
On the whole -- it was a bore. No one got injured. Samba continued to impress (and played a full 90'). Green looks to be the real deal. Bjarnason and Lansbury were pretty solid. Gabby played -- at least according to the video, announcers, and lineup sheet. But to play a full match against Walsall and not score is poor. I'm not going to freak out like some might -- but it isn't good.
At the same time -- preseason is the time to build up fitness, stay healthy, and build a system ready for the season... two out of three isn't too bad... right?