Aston Villa secured a third successive pre-season victory after seeing off Walsall 5-1. Record-signing Wesley netted his first double for the club.
The Brazillian impressed on his third outing in claret and blue, scoring twice, and assisting for a successive match. Fellow new signing Jota also scored a brace to continue his early-season form.
Dean Smith handed the starting side an hour to improve their fitness. The quality they showed in that time was a testament to Suso, the chief scout, who has seemingly brought in numerous players to gel within weeks.
Tyrone Mings and new recruit Bjorn Engels started in front of Lovre Kalinic. Frederic Guilbert and Matt Targett occupied the wing-back roles. Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury and Andre Green also initially featured.
Villa took an early lead, as Jota converted from Guilbert’s cross on the right flank – with two of the preseason’s top performers combining again.
Only minutes later, Wesley scored his first of the night. As Grealish swept the ball inside the pitch to Jota, the Spaniard spotted Wesley peeling off his marker. The Brazilian turned and struck beyond Liam Roberts towards the far corner.
After 30 minutes passed, Wesley’s presence in the box was too much for the League 2 outfit, as he won a penalty under a challenge. Stepping up casually, he rifled the ball into the top left corner – his audition for penalty duties next season.
Moments later, however, Villa switched off in a commanding lead and conceded their first goal of the pre-season schedule to a well-taken effort from Stuart Sinclair.
On the stroke of half time, Jota completed his double. The former Birmingham and Brentford player restored Villa’s 3 goal advantage. Dropping his shoulder inside the box, Jota curled the ball inside the near post after winning a loose ball on the edge of the box.
Grealish completed his impressive performance with a goal on the hour mark. Smith then made a host of changes, for players who are expected to make loan moves in the coming weeks.
Villa will travel to London to face Lee Bowyer’s Charlton Athletic on Saturday.