Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday August 4 2007
Aston Villa basked in the mid afternoon sun to see off Inter Milan 3-0.
Villa were the brightest throughout the game and Inter seldom threatened and didn't test our keeper, Taylor, once throughout the 90 minutes.
Gareth Barry scored two, one from the penalty spot and the towering inferno that is Martin Laursen scored the other.
Milan looked short of pace and match rusty, but then again, they took on and beat Manchester United midweek (or so I believe, can't claim to have seen that result myself!). It certainly wasn't a weak side that Milan put out:
Inter: J.Cesar, Stankovic, Maxwell, Ibrahimovic, Cruz, Jimenez, Dacourt, Materazzi, Samuel, Chivu, Cesar. Subs: Toldo, Fillipini, Pedleli, Figo (replaced Jimenez at half time), Adriano (replaced Ibrahimovic 64), Fikol, Fatic (replaced Samuel 78), Balotelli, Boltoni, Santiago (replaced Materazzi ht), Suazo (replaced Cruz ht)
But Villa were brighter, had more pace, didn't let the Italian champions settle on the ball and played good attacking, passing football. Nice to see the long balls were non existent and that the full use of the pace of Luke Moore, Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor was used to good measure.
So, no worries then, ready for Saturday against Liverpool? Well, a friendly is a friendly, the Premiership is a different matter. With a new goalie and a recognised right-back, we might just hold our own though, certainly the squad (albeit short on numbers) is looking good pace wise and there are a few options up front. An injury or two though and this paper thin squad would be decimated. Hopefully the next week will see that situation resolved, if not it'll be a Russian roulette first half to the season.
For this game, Villa lined up with Cahill as right back in the first half, he looked ok and did a couple of lovely insightful passes forward. The second half Craig Gardner was right-back and to be fair, he was beaten for speed a few times and made a lunging tackle that resulted in a yellow card. In the Prem he'll simply not get away with those sort of challenges, more's the pity because that is the sort of football I like, good on him!
The main worry again was Stiliyan Petrov, he seemed to give the ball away more than the others although he did pull off one nice shot that was well saved. Hopefully he'll blossom into our playmaker this season, at the price he came in at, he's got to hasn't he?
Overall it was a good entertaining game and a great afternoon out. I believe the announcer said the attendance was 36 000 something, although it was muffled so I'm not certain on that. I had to be on my best behaviour this afternoon because I took my mom and dad to the match, I was very subdued (by my standards anyway) but did have to ask Louis Figo why he had banana's on his feet. Well, you do wonder don't you?
The new season? Bring it on!
VILLA: Taylor, Cahill, Mellberg, Laursen, Bouma, Young, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Barry, Moore, Agbonlahor. Subs: Bevan, Harewood (replaced Agbonlahor 72), Berger (replaced Mellberg 72), Gardner (replaced Cahill ht), Osbourne (replaced Laursen 81), Maloney (replaced Young 74), O'Halloran, Stieber, Lowry.
Date:Saturday August 4 2007
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