Aston Villa made the trip to Dresden for the final tune up before the opening match of the Championship campaign.
The team was an odd one. No recognized striker, one proper center back.
Steer, Hutton, Chester, Jedinak, Taylor, Elmohamady, Bjarnason, Whelan, Grealish, Green, Adomah.
Subs: Gardner, Bree, Elphick, De Laet, Lansbury, Hourihane, Knibbs, Sarkic (rumors of a Sarkic twin turned out of the fake news).
The striker situation is a worry heading into the Hull match with Kodjia left out — no confirmation at time of publishing but I’m presuming injury. Hogan has been dealing with a groin. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis weren’t able to make the trip. Ross McCormack is still locked out of the squad. So Albert Adomah it is with Harvey Knibbs on the bench as a young option.
On to the match.
Wait — quick tangent — Villa please figure out what time matches are going to start. The Youtube countdown was an hour off for most of pre-match.
Now on to the match.
Steve Bruce decided not to continue the three center back formation — so Hutton was moved out to right back with the center partnership of Chester and Jedinak.
After a rough first minute when Steer was called into action — Aston Villa settled into some good spells of possession in the attacking half. The midfield looked comfortable shifting the ball from side to side looking for a way through. Dynamo Dresden found some success with long balls out to the wings.
At some point the German commentary was turned off — and so, it seems, was some of the attacking movement.
Dynamo Dresden opened the scoring but it really should be classified as an own goal on Jed Steer. The keeper was bent over the ball waiting for it to slowly roll into the box so he could pick it up. One problem though — an attacker was onto the ball and flicked it by Steer. From there it was an easy job of sliding the ball into the open net while Steer wiped egg off his face.
Some minutes (not clock on the broadcast) later Steer somewhat made up for the mistake with a quality save down to his left. Good to see him bounce back from the screw up. And a reminder to everyone that keepers screw up and can recover.
Villa had their best chance from a corner. Jack Grealish send a quality ball in but the Chester header was sent over the bar. But then we got a nice smile and thumbs up from the captain. So that made things a little better.
Dresden should have been up 2-0 after some very good movement and passing made for a one-on-one with Steer. Attacking player sent the shot just wide to space Villa a two goal deficit.
Halftime came and went — no changes for Villa during the break.
Villa started the half on the front foot. Jack Grealish was taken down outside the box but Albert Adomah couldn’t keep the shot low enough.
Grealish picked up a yellow card for a scuffle near the corner flag. The frustration built for the attacking player as he was getting kicked most of the time he was on the ball. And the crowded picked up on it and starting heckling him. And that built more frustration... and so the cycle goes.
Then it became the André Green show. A Jack Grealish corner went over everyone. The ball found Green on the outside of the box and the young winger (playing as a striker) made no mistake. It was a curling shot that found the back of the net.
And maybe a minute later — Alan Hutton made a great attacking run down the right. His cross found the head of André Green — who bounced the ball past the keeper for a very quick brace putting Aston Villa in the lead.
Dresden responded well to the two goals and nearly equalized a couple of times.
With about 15 minutes left in the match (kind of a guess because no clock). Hourihane and De Laet came on for Green and Whelan. Then a bunch of other subs happened and were not shown on the broadcast.
The massive change seemed to unsettle Aston Villa as Dresden could have scored a couple of goals but for misses and last ditch tackles.
All in all job done for the friendly. Looks like everyone came out healthy. Two goals for Green — which adds to his tally for preseason. Hopefully he is in for a breakout season.
On to Hull and the season ahead!