Aston Villa opened their 2022-23 preseason slate of matches with a 4-0 victory over Walsall at the Banks’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Goals came via Leon Bailey (8′), Cameron Archer (38′), Ollie Watkins (54′), and Douglas Luiz (70′) as Villa cruised to a comfortable win over the League Two side.
A patchwork squad featuring the likes of Viljami Sinisalo in goal, Kaine Kesler Hayden at right back, Finn Azaz in central midfield, and outcast first-team wingers Anwar El Ghazi and Bertrand Traore on the flanks started the match and played the first half.
New signing Diego Carlos made his Villa debut alongside Tyrone Mings in central defense and helped the side secure a clean sheet.
The first-team strike-force partnership of Danny Ings and Watkins played the second half along with Emi Buendia, Morgan Sanson, Callum Chambers, Ashley Young, and a handful of other U21s.
Among the U21s was Tommi O’Reilly, who assisted on Watkins’ tally.
Bailey’s opening goal was a well-worked play that materialized from a right-sided cross by Kesler Hayden into the box. El Ghazi directed the ball to the far post with his head before the Jamaican used a powerful left-footed strike to beat the Walsall keeper high and to the left.
Archer’s speed troubled the Walsall back line and, in the 38th minute, the forward took advantage of a misplay to create a 1-v-1 opportunity on which he converted Villa’s second goal.
Luiz scored directly from a corner to wrap the afternoon’s scoring.
The Villa camp now moves to Australia for additional preseason matches with Leeds (July 17), Brisbane Roar (July 20), and Manchester United (July 23).
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