Aston Villa got the job done in the League Cup tonight with a confident victory over League One’s Wigan Athletic at home in Villa Park.
The Villans decided to play a 2nd string team for a number of reasons - to put unwanted players like Tommy Elphick and Ross McCormack in the shop window, to give Callum O’Hare and other youth team players first-team minutes and to obviously retain fitness levels and tactical knowhow - and that’s exactly what Villa did. This Villa side came out with a clear plan and bossed the game with decent retention of the ball, instead of the ‘hoofball’ we saw against Reading and Cardiff.
Villa took the lead early on as Scott Hogan found himself on the end of an Albert Adomah cross to give Villa their first goal. Hogan would strike again later, but he’d have to give the stage to Albert Adomah, whose sweet finish from a Birkir Bjarnason cross doubled Villa’s early lead. BB to AA, eh?
Wigan’s Colclough scored shortly after to make Villa worry, but they didn’t worry for long. Scott Hogan scored once more with the goal of the game, with an excellent 18-yard strike that almost tore the net from its fixings. Almost.
There was concern for Callum O’Hare who went off after being tripped by Wigan’s Jones in goal. Hopefully he won’t be too bad, as ideally he’ll be a feature for the first team soon - instead of Ross McCormack, the man who replaced him.
Birkir Bjarnason sealed the deal as he found Ritchie De Laet’s ball-in. Hogan missed the chance for his third-goal, but Bjarnason struck home to grab his first Villa goal.
As much stick as the League Cup gets, it is proving to be very enjoyable thus far for Villa fans - long may it continue! We’re getting used to shooting into the Holte End first now at Villa Park, but hopefully they find their shooting boots later on in the Carabao Cup (the next round is drawn at 4am UK time, on Thursday) and of course, on Friday as Bristol take on Villa.