The football season kicked off for Aston Villa today as they took part in not one, but two pre-season exhibition games against Telford and Kidderminister respectively. The games ensured that the squad was spit, with a number of key players picking up first-team minutes alongside an array of youth talent.
Villa’s game against Telford saw them debut the new Luke Roper kits, and honestly - they looked better in-person than they do in the PR photographs. The claret takes on a darker, more ‘Villa’ shade in the sun and contrasts brilliantly with the bold white number set. They look delicious.
And so did Villa, early on. Andre Green looked the most lively figure with his balletic runs and jinking cut-ins. The arrowing winger looked to put Villa into the lead within ten minutes, but his deflected side-footed finish was tipped over the bar by Telford’s Martinez. Seconds later, Green played in Jonathan Kodjia who could only tap the ball into Martinez in goal with acres of freedom before him.
Kodjia made up for his miss by launching himself onto the end of an arcing Ritchie De Laet cross. The former Leicester man sent the ball into a short orbit before the Ivorian striker met it with his head to send Villa into the lead.
De Laet, acting as a winger in this game, could have doubled Villa’s tally with an incredible effort. The Belgian linked up with Kodjia, Keinan Davis, and Green in a move before receiving the ball back and curling the ball off the top of the crossbar and back into play.
In terms of the defense, Villa looked solid. Despite Telford’s poor quality in the final-third, Villa’s defence held strong, with Jacob Bedeau settling in alongside James Chester. Mitch Clarke was a delight at left-back.
In the second-half, De Laet doubled up with Kodjia to make it 2-0 to Villa in an action replay, and almost did the exact same to add a third, however Conor Hourihane’s header smashed against the crossbar after hitting the keeper’s palm. He added his goal shortly after when Kodjia set him up.
Speaking of palms, Jed Steer’s finally got a taste of action late on as Telford pressed for a goal. His save was parried into the penalty area, where the defence leapt into action. Despite the context of the match, it’s very promising to see the spirit of last season carry on, despite the off-the-pitch issues.
Corey Taylor would have added a fourth, but his mazy run was followed by a daisy-cutter finish that rolled wide. As the match dragged on, talented youngster Dmitri Sea got his first taste of Villa action - but was unable to make an impact as Telford started to run the play. He did manage to lay off Jozef Pastorek, but his fellow youngster was unable to muster a shot of any strength.
Again, the context of the match will be critiqued, but Villa performed well in their first game back after a short rest. Jonathan Kodjia lead the way, but Andre Green, Jacob Bedeau and Ritchie De Laet shined. It’s good to be back. Up The Villa., Ritchie
Result: Aston Villa 3 - 0 Telford
Context: Pre-season friendly
Goalscorers: Jonathan Kodjia x 2, Conor Hourihane
Assists: Ritchie De Laet x 2, Jonathan Kodjia
Man of the Match: Jonathan Kodjia