Aston Villa got their 2019 pre-season schedule off with a win in Minneapolis. Gearing up for their Premier League return, Dean Smith’s Villa saw off Minnesota. A 3-0 win ended their US tour in style.
Goals from Jack Grealish, Henri Lansbury and Birkir Bjarnason ensured a positive start to the 2019-2020 campaign.
Two separate sides
Having made an initial eight signings, Villa fielded two separate 11’s either side of half time. Debutants included Ezri Konsa, Matt Targett, Jota and Wesley in the first half. Whilst Frederic Guilbert was introduced in the second alongside many familiar faces who had penned permanent moves over the summer.
Minnesota sat 4th in the Western MLS conference coming into this friendly, with a fully fit side. It was to be a test of fitness for the Villans if nothing else.
Captain Grealish opened the scoring ten minutes before half time, in an opening 45 that villa controlled. Moving inside from the left-wing, Grealish skipped past Lawrence Olum, and after leaving him on the floor. He struck beyond Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth with aplomb.
Wesley came close to scoring on his first outing. The Brazilian clipped the roof of the Minnesota net as he cleverly shifted the ball onto his favourable side.
With the first half drew to a close, new signing Jota impressed. He linked play effortlessly throughout and causing problems for the MLS backline by dropping into central pockets.
Tyrone Mings entered proceedings in the second period, alongside James Chester and playoff heroes Jed Steer and John McGinn.
Villa added another two in the second half, firstly from Henri Lansbury as he ran onto an inch-perfect cross from Fred Guilbert off the right flank. The Frenchman oozed class as he performed with a superb first touch and demonstrated exceptional pace too.
An outcast for much of last season, Birkir Bjarnason, put his name back in the frame with a goal-scoring touch to cap off a successful tour across the pond.
With the imminent arrival of Douglas Luiz, Villa will look to add 2-3 more players before kicking their season off at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in three weeks time.