Another summer day in the West Midlands, and another friendly for the Villa. For me, this game was a chance to rectify the Shrewsbury result, not only because it was so soon after, but also because it was against League One opposition.
We started the game in an unfamiliar 4-3-3 shape, with Jordan Amavi and Andre Green as wingers and Gabby upfront. It does feel as if Bruce is finding the right system to get the best out of his players. Also, Christopher Samba continued his trial alongside John Terry at centre-back. The fact he’s still with us at this point makes it seem likely he’ll sign for us.
We had the first real chance of the game when Gabby made some space for himself in the box, but his shot was high and wide.
But credit to us, we kept at it. Soon after Henri Lansbury hit a ball onto the head of Jordan Amavi but it was parried by Mark Gillespie.
That’s not to say Walsall didn’t have their chances, Erhun Oztumer was the main architect of everything good that the home side did.
Bikir Bjarnason, the forgotten man for Villa last season, also went close a couple of times. The Icelandic international wasn’t able to trouble Gillespie too much, but it’s a good sign that he’s getting into goal scoring positions.
Although Villa had more chances, Walsall definitely had the best one. Adam Chambers slid a ball through to Amadou Bakayoko, leaving the big man one on one. Unfortunately for the home side he could’nt find the target.
Villa started the second half brightly, but things slowly got worse. I’m going to sound really harsh here, but what’s the point of Neil Taylor going over the halfway line?! Don’t get me wrong, he’s really good defensively, but his final ball is shocking and rarely beats the first man.
Joe Edwards nearly scored his first goal of pre season for Walsall midway through the second period, venturing forward before bending a 20 yard shot wide.
The incoherent nature of our attacks meant the only real chance we had in the second 45 came right at the end. Jordan Lyden found enough space to stab a shot at goal, but all he could earn was a corner after his shot was blocked.
In spite of the fact I didn’t hear it at the time, I heard reports of fans booing the players at full time. I know it’s nice to see a performance and maybe a couple of goals, but pre season is mainly about fitness. Literally just one of Bjarnason’s chances could’ve gone in then it would’ve been different. The least fans can do this season is to get behind the team.
John Terry – Terry’s was solid again against Walsall. The former Chelsea defender even had the ball in the back of the net at one point after heading in a corner, but the whistle had already gone for a foul. Nevertheless, will he be good for a couple of goals this season?