Steven Gerrard surprised most surprised when he named a strong side to take on League 1, Bolton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup. Gerrard stated that Villa fans took it seriously by travelling up in their numbers (approx. 5,200) so it’s the least he could do.
Truthfully, given the form this season, the more these players play together, the better and it didn’t come easy for the opening 45-60 minutes which leaves more questions than answers. Again. I won’t be too negative though, we won and won comfortably in the end so let’s try and take the positives from the game.
Ashley Young, Calum Chambers and Dougie Luiz all come in for their first starts of the season.
The visitors were in control early but it was the hosts who took the lead. Luiz and Bouba Kamara were poor in the tackle and couldn’t stop Elias Kachunga, Kieran Lee then turned Chambers and squad for Dion Charles to finish low past Emi Martinez.
As normal, those on social media over-reacted or did they while those in attendance could only watch on in shock.
Twelve minutes later Luiz proved that his goal from a corner against Walsall in pre-season was no fluke by curling the ball over Joel Dixon in the Bolton goal to draw the team’s level. The visiting fans still made their feelings known at their displeasure at the half-time whistle as boos sounded out from the away end.
Villa were better in the second half but there still wasn’t the domination many would have expected until late on.
The visitors were awarded a penalty just after the hour mark when Danny Ings was judged to have been brought down by Dixon in the penalty area. The striker stepped up and finished calmly before pointing towards the keeper as he celebrated.
Three minutes later, Villa took total control of the game with a two-goal cushion. Lucas Digne took advantage of the keeper as he slotted a nice left-footed shot inside the near post following an assist by Ings.
The rout was complete with three minutes left on the clock when a solo effort from Leon Bailey made it four. Villa then had chances through Cameron Archer and John McGinn but they couldn’t add to the scoreline.
Gerrard will know that Villa are still far from what is expected of them and they face a very difficult task when they take on winless West Ham at Villa Park on Sunday.