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Aston Villa find Los Boquerones to their taste!


John
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This proved a decent work out and it suggested as many suspect that whilst we are likely to score goals for fun this season we may again find it difficult not to concede them in similar numbers.

 

We were three up on 31 minutes and playing some sweet football although it could be argued we had up until then faced little real resistance. It took a fortunate own goal on 42 minutes and I suspect a stark reminder from Bernd Schuster at half time that the three goals already conceded proved this was not going to be the walk in the park that Malaga players might have been expecting to get our opponents truly focussed on the job at hand. But they upped their game in the second half and produced some decent football as would have been expected from Champions League quarter finalists although they found coming back from a two goal deficit just beyond them.                 

 

My player ratings from a game that was more about match fitness than the result and from which the ratings that follow are therefore less important than they will prove in the coming months are nevertheless:

 

Brad Guzan – 6 – Not a busy day at the office and he had little chance with the two goals. Brad tipped a decent Pawlowski effort over for a corner on 57 minutes.                                        

 

Matt Lowton – 6 – Made a good run into the box on 55 minutes but his one-two with Benteke did not quite bounce right for him. He found more than a little difficulty in handling Pawlowski and it is rare for Matt to find a player who can put him to as stringent a test as did this 20 year old. Could this be one for Lambo to consider bringing in?    

 

Ron Vlaar – 6 – His powerful unchallenged header from a well placed Tonev corner on 21 minutes gave us our second with a nuclear strike of his own into the corner of the net. At times his positional play was not at its best but that will come.                   

 

Jores Okore – 6 – Lacking in game time but he looks confident in his ability and able to read a game well. Jores was unlucky on 42 minutes when he turned a Pawlowski cross past Guzan at the near post. Could well provide the solid central pairing we are looking for with Ron.   

 

Antonio Luna - 6 – Looked composed at the back and able to offer us something when moving forward. Did well to force player and ball wide on 76 minutes when an offside decision was looked for but not given.                          

 

Karim El Ahmadi – 5 – Has played a surprising number of pre-season games given he was not a first choice for most of last season but he needs to show more than this to claim a first team starting place. Their second took a deflection off him which eluded Guzan’s reach.      

 

Fabian Delph – 5 – Needs to step up to the level he had been showing at the end of last season this performance was some way below that.         

 

Aleksandar Tonev – 6 – These are very early days but he will need to find some more consistency with his corners which other than the one that produced our second were none productive and show he has more to give us than that famed nuclear strike. Had a shot deflected for a corner on 33 minutes after a decent run forward by Luna but he did have a hand in two of our goals and I back him to improve with further games.                     

 

Gabriel Agbonlahor- 6 – A nice early run past 3 defenders on 10 minutes ended with him on the ground following a strong challenge and he found himself floored again on 65 minutes when he would otherwise have just had the keeper to beat earning the defender a booking. Needs to start this season as he ended the last one and he may then get his hands on an England shirt again.                  

 

Andreas Weimann – 6 – Did not look quite as sharp as he has looked in some of our earlier pre-season games but he offered and offers s a real threat up front working so well with Benteke that I can see them getting 40 goals between them this season.             

 

Christian Benteke – 8 – MOTM - Showed Spurs what they could have had but cannot now! Christian dominated this game scoring a brace and causing havoc in the Malaga defence who found him much too hot to handle. Opened the scoring on 12 minutes when he eased past a defender brushed aside a challenge from their captain and hit the ball past keeper Cabellero and into the net. Hit our third from the penalty spot on 31 minutes having been found well by a Tonev through ball and was then felled inside the box before sending the ball into the centre of the goal that the diving Cabellero had vacated.                                    

 

 

Substitutes:

 

Nathan Baker – Replaced Okore on 76 minutes not on long enough to earn a rating.  

 

Joe Bennett - Replaced Luna on 76 minutes not on long enough to earn a rating.

 

Ashley Westwood - Replaced El Ahmadi on 76 minutes not on long enough to earn a rating.

 

Nicklas Helenius - Replaced Tonev on 76 minutes and was another who was not on long enough to earn a rating.

                                                                                         

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Following on from my comments regarding Pawlowski I see he is with them on a season loan deal with a view to buy so this may be one we would have to put on the back burner for at least a year. Pity... 

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I should point out that it is, in fact, "atomic strike" and NOT "nuclear strike". - Quite right Crackpot Foreigner I think I must have been looking to upscale his goal threat.    

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