Winning is always good and the 2017/18 campaign is off to a solid start with Aston Villa capturing the super important preseason trophy.
With silverware on the line — Aston Villa matched up with a worth Hertha Berlin side in the finals of the Cup of Traditions. The team for the 45 minute encounter was Steer, Bree, Richards (edit note: WHY?!?!), Samba, Amavi, Bjarnason, Whelan, Lansbury, Grealish, McKirdy, and captain Agbonlahor.
One noticeable difference from the first match was the audio level of the team. John Terry seemed to never stop yelling in the early match and the team seemed much quieter without him. Could have been louder fans too, I suppose, but without commentary it was really obvious.
The first ten minutes of the match were quiet — ending with Micah Richards being subbed off with an injury. Keinan Davis came on (the only outfield sub available). Bjarnason filled in at right back while Bree moved over to pair with Chris Samba.
Match got a little scrappy then with Gabby involved in some handbags after giving away a free kick that led to nothing.
The breakthrough came off the head of newly signed big man Chris Samba. Jack Grealish made a nice little run and got off a decent long range attempt —which was deflected out for Villa’s first corner. A nice looping ball was sent to the far post — and Samba took advantage to head home the opening goal.
Hertha Berlin reacted well to the goal putting the pressure on the Villa back line and won a slew of corners. All of which came to nothing. Villa tried to counter off them — but gave away the ball a few times.
Gabby doubled the Villa lead on the half and hour mark with a clinical finish after a crunching tackle (it was a foul) to take the ball of a Hertha defender. A few dribbles saw Gabby around the keeper and the “fast-one” made no mistake.
Hertha nearly halved the lead off (yet another) free kick opportunity in a good position in the 36’. Something to watch for this year because Villa will be punished by teams if the fouls keep racking up in the defensive half.
I am sure I would have some very insightful commentary for the final five minutes of the match... but the stream died. So instead — an older moment of preseason cup glory. The starting lineup the Peace Cup match against Malaga almost 8 years ago. Up the Villa!