It seems like a really long time since we have seen the boys in action, and on Saturday we will finally see us play once again. Pre-Season has arrived, and so has the arrival of Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara, in which we will hope to see play their first minutes in Claret and Blue.
When is the game?
We travel to the Bank's stadium to play Walsall in the first of five Pre-Season friendlies. This will take place at 13:00BST on Saturday 9th July. The game will be available to watch via VillaTV, for a fee of £4.99. If you want to purchase a package that allows fans to watch all the pre-season games over the summer, this will cost you £45.99*. Villa have received some backlash for these prices.
Well, the start of an exciting season ahead for Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa side, as we face Walsall, in a game where we can expect to see a mix of the exciting youth talents, and the experienced first-teamers. New signing, Boubacar Kamara is expected to be missing from this game as he was pictured travelling to Australia alongside his French and Aston Villa teammate, Lucas Digne. Also, Gerrard has made a late-call up to young Midfielder Arjan Raihky, who is now expected to feature in this match. This may concern Aston Villa fans on the future/fitness of Frenchman, Morgan Sanson; although nothing has been said on his condition.
This the first match preview of the 22/23 season, and we have a lot to get into... So let's do that!
An attendance of 9,000 is expected at the Bescot stadium with the majority being Aston Villa fans that are raring to support their side. As expected a first-half team will be chosen, and then the whole 11 will switch for the second period. This will give Gerrard a good look at players individual performances, as well as looking at how certain players linkup together. This will also give the Aston Villa fans a taste of what is to come from new Brazilian Centre Half Diego Carlos. The Brazilian joined Villa in June, and is yet to make his debut for the Villans. Another player who has recently returned from loan, is French Right-back; Frederic Guilbert. He has two loan spells during the tenure of former manager Dean Smith, and will now fight for his place with Matty Cash during pre-season it is clear to see that Gerrard sees something in the Frenchman.
With Gerrard preferring to play with one striker, it will be interesting to see the battle of Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins during the 5 pre-season games. Ollie Watkins has been working hard over the break, to improve on his finishing ability, he has hired a finishing specialist to achieve the level he wants to be at. This has had a widespread of praise from the Villa faithful, who have already seen a true dedication to playing for this great club. Another player that will be making Watkins and Ings worry, is the youngster Cameron Archer, the 20 year-old had an amazing half-season at Preston; playing 20 games, scoring 7 and bagging the one assist. There will be plenty of clubs interested in taking Archer away from Aston Villa, so he will need to prove himself to be a Premier League ready player. I would not be surprised if we see him start in this upcoming game against Walsall. This is an exciting time for the Villa fans, who are seeing the youth finally making breakthroughs. Archer is already a favourite amongst Villa fans, so this may apply pressure on Gerrard to give the youngster a chance.
Another exciting aspect of this pre-season friendly, is that the Villa fans can see two different defence partnerships in action. With the signing of Carlos, this leaves Villa with 4 CB choices, being Carlos, Mings, Konsa and Chambers. We also have exciting youth products, such as; Joshua Feeney, Kerr Smith and Lamare Bogarde. So with this friendly we will be able to analyse how the different CB'S work together and which partnership works the most efficiently. However the expected starting defence is probably going to be Kesler, Carlos, Mings, Young.
It will be an eventful pre-season for Ben Chrisene who has had a slow start to his Villa career, however he has bounced back to be named on the Villa bench five times last season. Ben has spoken to VillaTV about Aston Villa so far.
“It’s definitely been gradual and it will still be gradual for the next couple of years because it’s hard for young players transitioning [into the first team].
“The Under-23s and first team, people think it’s only one step away but it’s actually lots of little steps away because the quality and intensity is a lot different.
“I just need to keep going. I’ve got lots of people around me to help me.”
One to watch!
Players such as Bertrand Traore, Anwar El Ghazi, Morgan Sanson and Sinisalo, will all be analysed over the next 5 games, so Gerrard can decide if they are part of his plans over next season. Leon Bailey, will also have a huge point to prove after a fairly disappointing first season in Claret and Blue. However, he has showed glimpses of quality that may have impressed Gerrard and convinced him to give him a chance. The problem will be how Gerrard fits Bailey into a system that does not use wingers at all, unless he returns to his favoured 4-3-3 formation.
I'd expect the game to pan out as Villa dominating possession and creating all the chances, with players like Buendia and Coutinho at the heart of it all. Furthermore, i will also expect us to get some nice link-up play and a few goals. We must also make sure we respect Walsall as a collective, as they will punish on any mistakes we make in possession. I will also not be surprised if we drop back a few yards and let Walsall have more of the ball, this will allow Gerrard to analyse how the team work off the ball, and the defensive ability of Carlos ect.
Overall, i'd expect the Villa team to create and entertaining match for the fans and for themselves.
Villa will also be rocking the brand new Home Kit that has just launched, and me personally thinks that it is a thing of beauty.
One of the writers has somehow managed to make a predicted line-up so Thanks, James!
Kesler, Carlos, Mings, Young,
Luiz, Nakamba, Sanson,
I personally would not mind this, we must also take into consideration that the whole Starting XI will change in the second half.
Let's hope for a positive start to the season, and VILLA ARE BACK!
Written by Kian Davies.