The sides Villa have faced so far have been on very good form, domestically. They’ve been well-drilled, athletic, mentally tough, and play nice football. Alkmaar, currently unbeaten in league play, have only lost once in their last 15: to Zrinjski. It’s also their sixth consecutive season of European football. And of course Alkmaar were West Ham’s semifinal opponents last year.
Another interminable international break (well done, Ollie), and now another bogey team for Villa. Dunno what it is, but winless in 10 against the Irons since 2015 is something Emery will want to put right, especially given the next three league matches are ones Villa will think they should be winning.
A win’s a win, and it was an important one, but the big thing is that Villa didn’t quit. You could see the frustration, but they resisted thinking “it’s just one of those nights” when it looked for all the world that it was just one of those nights.
Preseason is now history, and Villa have come through the summer’s six matches unbeaten. Not a bad showing given the competition and some of the conditions, and from the outside, it seems to have been a very useful training camp.
Villa got off to a fast start with goals from Ollie and Buendia (deservedly MOTM) to glide ahead 2-0 inside of 12 minutes. But unlike league performances under Emery, it didn’t turn out to be a lead Villa could hold. There was a bit of sloppiness, bits of luck good and bad, and the usual attacks on the high line. But there was plenty to like, especially going forward.