Carabao Cup, 2nd Round. 15th September 2020

So the long wait is over, Villa finally return to competitive action, albeit in the strange surroundings of the Carabao Cup second round. The postponement of our first league game could actually be a blessing,  with a limited preseason under our belts this game has given us a chance to get some important Competitive minutes into the player’s legs ahead of our first league game a week on Monday.

First up team news

Aston Villa: Nyland, Taylor, Hause, Mings, Elmohamady, Lansbury, Grealish, Nakamba, El Ghazi, Ramsey, Watkins.

Subs: Steer, Konsa, Luiz, Samatta, Jota, Guilbert, Davis

Dean smith chose to put out a mixed side against the league one team from Burton, giving a lot of the fringe players the chance to impress, and possibly put themselves in the shop window. One player I was very pleased to see in the line up was Ramsey, after a positive loan to Doncaster last season, the youngster seems to have caught the eye of the first team coaching set up and makes his first start against Burton.

No surprise to see the captain playing, fresh from signing his brand new 5- year contract in the morning, the skipper led from the front as always. Our record signing also made his debut at the Pirelli Stadium fresh from his winner on Saturday against Manchester United in our last friendly.

The game kicked off and in typical Villa fashion, we went behind almost immediately, with Burton’s first attack the ball was flashed across the face of goal and the onrushing Daniel stunned Nyland with a sweeping finish. If we thought this was going to be a pushover, the early goal was a reminder we were in a cup tie, and Burton weren’t here to make up the numbers.

We quickly got over the early setback and started to control the game, the first half did have a pre-season friendly feel to it, and with so many fringe players on show, it was quite difficult to assess just what this game could show us. A lot of the fringe players just didn’t show the desire needed to remind the manager they are still hungry to be in his plans. A big positive from the first half was Jacob Ramsey starting for the first time, he showed real willingness to get on the ball and always looked to carry the ball forward or pass forward.

As always all our good play came through super Jack and it was no surprise to us all that the goal came from a bit of magic from the skipper. He bamboozled 3 Burton players and reversed the ball to Taylor who almost didn’t see the pass but fortunately, he got to the ball and fired it across goal for our record signing to tap home. 5-yard tap-ins might not be the most eye-catching way to score goals, but its a true art form and a skill any top striker should have in his armoury.

The second half kicked off and the game went much the same as the first half, Villa seeing plenty of the ball but struggling to break down a resolute Burton defence. With the game seemingly heading to penalties, who else but super Jack to come to the rescue, with a sublime volley from a corner. He simply is sensational and there are no other words for him.

These games are a potential banana skin for the bigger clubs and for us its a genuine route to silverware, so it was great to get through to the next round. We rounded the game off with Davis getting on the score sheet in injury time. Davis is a player who if he could add goals could become a real player for us in the coming seasons. I also thought Jota did well when came on, he looked sharp and put in a cameo you would hope to see from all the fringe players.

I presume the starting XI next Monday will be very different, so it’s tough to gauge how the season will go based on this performance. But at the end of the day, we are in the hat for the next round and that’s all you can do. Roll on the premier league.