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Buendia’s Goal Seals Villa’s Win Over Valencia

Aston Villa Triumphs Over Valencia in Pre-Season Friendly

In a thrilling pre-season friendly, Aston Villa emerged victorious with a 2-1 win over Valencia. As Unai Emery’s side prepares for the return of Premier League football next week, this victory marks a promising end to their pre-season programme.

The Match Breakdown

Ollie Watkins, with his fourth goal in six pre-season matches, broke the deadlock 20 minutes into the game. Emi Buendia then doubled Villa’s advantage just after the hour mark. However, the match was not without its drama as Calum Chambers inadvertently scored an own goal in the closing stages of the match.

Valencia, who narrowly avoided relegation in La Liga last season by a mere two points, struggled against Villa. This match was the sixth pre-season game for Villa, who have also faced Walsall, Lazio, Newcastle, Fulham, and Brentford.

Dominance and Desperation

Villa dominated possession in the first half at the Mestalla, but both teams created few goalscoring opportunities. Watkins’ opener came in the 22nd minute when Javi Guerra lost possession in midfield. Watkins seized the opportunity, picking up the ball and driving it beyond Giorgi Mamardashvili from outside the box.

Valencia lacked creativity in the final third, and when they did manage to maintain possession, Emi Martinez’s defence, comprised of Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings, and Pau Torres, kept him well protected. Valencia’s desperation was evident towards the end of the half when their players appealed for a penalty for an alleged Villa handball following a corner. The referee, however, dismissed their claims.

Second Half Adjustments

Emery made strategic changes in the second half, replacing Torres with Lucas Digne and introducing Buendia in place of Leon Bailey. Buendia connected with Philippe Coutinho, another second-half substitute, who set up Buendia’s goal past Mamardashvili.

Valencia managed to reduce their deficit in the final stages of the match when Chambers scored an own goal from a corner.

Unbeaten Villa

Villa remained unbeaten throughout the pre-season, winning three and drawing three friendlies. Emery’s side appears to be in excellent form ahead of what promises to be an exciting 2023/24 campaign.

Player Ratings

Emi Martinez: 6/10 Matty Cash: 7/10 Ezri Konsa: 8/10 Tyrone Mings: 8/10 Pau Torres: 6/10 Douglas Luiz: 7/10 Boubacar Kamara: 8/10 Leon Bailey: 6/10 John McGinn: 7/10 Moussa Diaby: 6/10 Ollie Watkins: 8/10

Substitutes

Emi Buendia (for Bailey, 45): 8/10 Lucas Digne (for Torres, 45): 6/10 Philippe Coutinho (for McGinn, 63): 7/10 Jaden Philogene (for Diaby, 63): 6/10 Youri Tielemans (for Kamara, 63): 6/10 Calum Chambers (for Cash, 78): N/A Cameron Archer (for Watkins, 78): N/A

Goals

Valencia: Chambers OG (86) Aston Villa: Watkins (22), Buendia (65)

Key Match Statistics

Possession: Aston Villa 60% – 40% Valencia Shots On Goal: Aston Villa 8 – 3 Valencia Expected Goals (xG): Aston Villa 1.8 – 0.7 Valencia

This pre-season friendly has set the stage for an exciting season ahead. With Aston Villa’s impressive performance against Valencia, fans and critics alike are eagerly anticipating the return of Premier League football next week.

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