Aston Villa player ratings and report vs Lazio: Four score 8/10 as Emery’s men cruise to victory - gallery
Player ratings and match report from Aston Villa’s 3-0 pre-season win over Lazio at Bescot Stadium.
Aston Villa gave supporters plenty to get excited about as they eased past Italian Serie A giants Lazio with a 3-0 pre-season victory at Bescot Stadium on Thursday evening. Unai Emery’s rotated side looked dangerous on the attack in the opening 60 minutes and then were assured in the closing stages to hold on to the win, securing a clean sheet in the process. With strikes from Ollie Watkins and John McGinn, as well as an own goal from Mario Gila, it was a successful run-out for the 20 players who got involved, with further fitness added to the tank ahead of the start of the Premier League campaign.
Villa looked the better of the two teams in the opening quarter of an hour as they showed far more authority on the ball. It wasn’t long until they won an early penalty for their efforts as Boubacar Kamara, who sprinted forward from deep, won back possession on the edge of Lazio’s penalty area and was brought down by Alessio Romagnoli as he stepped foot in the box. Watkins was the man to take the spot kick but he saw his effort saved by Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel’s trailing leg. Youri Tielemans headed towards goal on the rebound but it was tame and saved with ease.
The Belgian summer signing went even closer to breaking the deadlock just a few minutes later as he found space around 20 yards from goal. Opening up his body, Tielemans curled a powerful shot towards the top right corner but he was denied by the crossbar, much to the relief of Provedel. The Italian side took a while to get going but were able to put their mark on the game a little more as the half-hour mark approached; Manuel Lazzari and Toma Basic were finding plenty of space on their respective overlaps.
It was the men in claret and blue who opened the scoring, though, as Tielemans set Watkins away down the left with a defence-splitting pass. The striker made up for his missed penalty by taking it into his stride and cutting on to his preferred right foot, before slotting it into the far side netting. It was very nearly two just before the break as Calum Chambers whipped the ball towards the far post, where Emi Buendia did brilliantly to take it down before firing a shot away. Much to the Argentinian’s dismay, however, it went just wide of the right post.
To kick off the second period, Emery made seven changes, leaving Olsen, Chambers, Tielemans and Digne as the only starters keeping their places on the field. Matty Cash, Tyrone Mings, Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Philippe Coutinho, Jaden Philogene and Cameron Archer were those chosen to come on. Emery’s subs made an instant impact as Cash took down a Tielemans ping and laid it off to McGinn just outside the area. The Scotsman took one touch to the left as he cut in onto his favoured boot and struck an audacious effort at goal. Villa fans all around the Bescot Stadium watched on in awe as the skipper’s strike arrowed into the top left-hand corner, giving Provedel no chance.
It was very nearly another goal from distance very soon after as Coutinho, who looked fired up as soon as he entered the action, took on a free-kick from about 30 yards. Dealing with a slight angle out on the left, the former Liverpool and Barcelona man did brilliantly to whip it up and over the wall, and he would’ve found the top corner if it wasn’t for Provedel, who made an impressive finger-tip save. Digne then pounced on the rebound but couldn’t direct his header goalward. The Villans did eventually get their third goal as Lazio centre-back Mario Gila turned a dangerous Sebastian Revan cross into his own net. Emery’s men then cruised on to hold on to an impressive 3-0 win under the lights. Here are our player ratings from the clash.