Two of Graham Taylor’s former clubs met today to commemorate the memory of the departed Villa legend, however - neither of the teams could find a goal to honour the great man.
Aston Villa’s brightest spark early on was Gabby Agbonlahor - the former youth product seemed to roll back the years and if he had his shooting boots on, he’d have given Villa the lead within ten minutes. He was Villa’s main threat throughout the first-half, which is positive to see. Villa need more from this man if they want to go up this season. Agbonlahor was taken off for Scott Hogan in the second-half.
Villa had an injury scare early on in the first half after Jack Grealish went down following an aerial challenge. Thankfully, he was able to walk off the pitch, but it seemed pretty painful. Leandro Bacuna was brought onto the pitch in place of Jack as a precaution. Unfortunately, Villa seemed to lose a lot of their urgency when Grealish went off, slowing down the pace of the game a lot.
Glenn Whelan was another bright spot. His hustle was on show and he turned up all over the pitch - in defense, in attack, on the wing and in the middle. He was more than happy to pass the ball over the pitch. Good to see from Whelan. Another of Villa’s all-new old guard, John Terry showed his defensive chops off and seemed to predict a lot of moves before they happen.
Ahmed Elmohamady kept up his pre-season form, almost setting up Gabby Agbonlahor with a neat flick on - but his crosses from deep unlocked the play for Villa throughout the game. On the other wing, Andre Green showed a determination to make things happen for Villa, a bright spot coming when he surged from deep to catch out a sleepy Watford backline, only to miss his cross. It didn’t seem like luck was on the youngsters side today.
Aston Villa had a great chance to take the lead in the second half, but Henri Lansbury’s fourth penalty of pre-season found the palms of Heurelho Gomes after Alan Hutton won the penalty. Watford had a great chance shortly after Isaac Success found himself with the ball in the six-yard box, but Jed Steer was able to pull off the save, and was fortunate that the loose ball slipped past Will Hughes, who was ready to pounce.
The game ran out of action late on - with Conor Hourihane coming the closest for Villa with a long-range effort that was comfortably saved. Do we not like that? Well - even though it was a stalemate, we’re sure that somewhere out there, Graham Taylor is smiling.