Filed under: Scout Notes - Posted by: Paul
Aston Villa maintain their unbeaten start under Paul Lambert, with Brett Holman amongst the goals again in a 2-0 win at Peterborough, while Stoke have to settle for a draw in Kansas after Asmir Begovic is beaten by a deflected header from more than 30 yards out.
Peterborough 0 Aston Villa 2
With his central defensive options somewhat limited, Paul Lambert fielded Nathan Baker and Chris Herd in the heart of the back-four for the trip to Peterborough last night. Shay Given returned between the posts, Enda Stevens continued at left-back ahead of Stephen Warnock, while Charles N’Zogbia was handed an advance role in attack alongside Andreas Weimann. Daniel Johnson was handed starting role on the left flank and was first to threaten before N’Zogbia had an effort saved from the edge of the box. The former Wigan man fired wide, while Stevens also went close to scoring before Villa’s attacks finally proved dividend, with Johnson slotting home an Eric Lichaj cross. Stevens was praised highly for his display by the club’s official website, with his attacking threat a constant menace to the hosts – if he can cement a place in Lambert’s starting XI, he could be an intriguing option at 4.0 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL). His cut-back to Stephen Ireland allowed the midfielder to tee up Brett Holman for Villa’s second – the Australian international is now his side’s top scorer in pre-season, with a couple of goals under his belt.
While the result continued Villa’s unbeaten start under the new managers, Lambert was left reeling yesterday evening with the news that Richard Dunne and Gabby Agbonlahor are both set to be sidelined for the start of the season. The centre-half is out for six to eight weeks after undergoing a groin operation – with Carlos Cuellar and James Collins both leaving during the summer, new boy Ron Vlaar already looks a key player in the heart of defence. Agbonlahor will be missing from action for four to five weeks due to a knee injury sustained earlier in pre-season.
Aston Villa Starting XI: Given; Lichaj, Herd, Baker (Clark, 81), Stevens (Warnock, 81); Delph (Bannan, 70); Carruthers (El Ahmadi, 70), Ireland (Burke, 81), Johnson (Holman70); Weimann, N’Zogbia (Delfouneso, 74).
Kansas 1 Stoke 1
Kenwyne Jones was handed a role alongside Peter Crouch last night, with Jonathan Walters shifted to the left wing. Robert Huth began the game at right-back but was subbed off for Ryan Shotton on 18 minutes after picking up a knock but returned to replace Ryan Shawcross after the break in the heart of defence. Jones and Crouch both had chances to score but failed to trouble the keeper as the first-half finished goalless – Jones than made way for Cameron Jerome shortly after half-time. The Potters began to take control in the second 45 and created chances aplenty; Walters, Jerome and Huth came close, while Crouch was presented with a trio of opportunities to break the deadlock but failed to take any. Tony Pulis made a number of changes as the game progressed and it was substitute Michael Tonge who eventually gave the visitors the advantage, slotting home from the spot after being fouled in the box. Stoke looked to have the game wrapped up but it finished all-square after an Asmir Begovic clearance struck the head of a Kansas player over 30 yards away and flew past the stopper deep into time added on.
Stoke Starting XI: Begovic; Huth (Shotton 18), Shawcross (Huth 46), Upson, Wilson; Etherington (Delap 69), Whitehead (Arismendi 73), Palacios (Ness 55), Walters (Tonge 77); Crouch (Sidibe 65), Jones (Jerome 50).
In Other News
Everton gave a handful of first-team players a run-out for their match with Tranmere in the Liverpool Senior Cup Final. David Moyes handed the likes of Seamus Coleman and Jack Rodwell 90 minutes apiece, while Ross Barkley and Apostolos Vellios also featured for the Toffees – the latter’s goal wasn’t enough to stop his side from slipping to a 2-1 defeat.
The second point of note is just a heads-up over the upcoming friendlies due to take place the midweek before the season starts. The likes of Argentina take on Germany on Wednesday August 15, for example, and although the vast majority of us will be sweating on Sergio Aguero to get through the match without sustaining any sort of injury, it’s somewhat reassuring that the game will take place in Frankfurt – not Argentina, as some on the site fretted over yesterday. So no long flights on the agenda, then. A list of the full schedule is linked above.
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