Aston Villa v Walsall FC 25/09/2019

Match Report

Aston Villa started the game well and kept great shape when out of possession of the ball, lots of communication around the pitch enabled us to start with a solid defence, strong midfield and our forward line defending from the front against a good footballing Walsall team. The Aston Villa team put into practise exactly what they had been coached over the last three weeks. Aston Villa recognised early that the opposition liked to play the ball out from the back, keep possession in the first two thirds of the pitch but struggled to create anything going forward.

In the first half, we created several good opportunities and took the lead after 22 minutes with some good passing play, finished well by striker Daniel Henry, who looked dangerous throughout the game. Aston Villa continued the first half on the front foot creating plenty of chances with Daniel Henry scoring his second goal of the game after 37 minutes, after a sweetly hit free kick from outside the box by Hariz Sirarji hit the crossbar, bounced back and was headed in from close range.

Walsall ended the half with five attempts on goal, with only one on target but not testing Aston Villa goalkeeper Kyle O’Brien at all. Aston Villa finished with ten attempts, 6 testing the goalkeeper, including two goals and four attempts off target.

The second half continued like the first half with Aston Villa having most of the play in the oppositions half, sometimes rushing to try and force a goal scoring opportunity, which forced mistakes and loss of possession. This enabled Walsall to get into possession, keeping the ball well but really struggling to get the ball up to strikers and making it stick to create any of they own goal scoring chances.

Throughout the game, Aston Villa forced 8 corners and looked very dangerous when attacking from them, Jack Stewart coming the closest with a bullet header going just over the crossbar after he beat his marker to the ball. A couple of missed opportunities and work needed on the training pitch to rectify this in the up and coming weeks.

Walsall never really got on the front foot and struggled to get into the game as the half went on, more pressure from Aston Villa enabled a great attack, where a third goal was scored in the 58th minute after a strong driving run by Kieran McElwaine, playing in Hariz Siraji who broke the Walsall defence, comfortably slotting the ball home.

A forced substitute was made after 69 minutes when central midfielder Raheem Ali was sandwiched in between two Walsall players and suffered a head injury. Jahvarn Mighty came off the bench to go behind the striker, with Hariz Siraji dropping back into central midfield. Jahvarn looked very energetic when he came on running well with the ball in the final third and causing a big problem for the Walsall defence, working hard to create three shots for himself testing the keeper well on one of them. Two further subs were made in the 79th minute with Abdullah Ibrahim and Corbyn Powell coming on for Daniel Henry and Ghenu Ibrahim respectively.

In reflection, Aston Villa played well throughout the game overpowering a weaker Walsall side. Overall it was a good game of football played in the right spirit with positive attacking football and a strong defensive performance by Aston Villa.

A team challenge for Aston Villa was to get the ball out wide and create goal scoring opportunities from crosses into the box, the team worked hard to try and accomplish this, getting fourteen crosses into the box throughout the game compared to six for Walsall FC, most coming from strong wing play from Darmarnick Campbell and Franco Crean.

A tough cup fixture against West Bromwich Albion as opponents next, away on Wednesday 02nd October.

Mr S. Connell



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