Aston Villa continued their solid pre season form with a 1-0 win against Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday night, as recently appointed manager Paul Lambert continued to assess the players he has available to him.
Throughout last season’s disastrous campaign, former manager Alex McLeish stressed to the Villa faithful that the squad he had to work with was severely stretched, and did not contain sufficient strength to compete in the Premier League. With a few players added, and a couple more returning from injuries, Lambert has been able to mix up his starting line-ups so far in Villa’s tour of America, and can be very happy with the squad he now has to work with.
With players such as Stephen Warnock, James Collins, Ciaran Clark and Barry Bannan on the bench, along with new signings Matt Lowton, Karim El-Ahmadi and Brett Holman, it gave many of the first team regulars from last season a chance to show what they have to offer in this new look Lambert side. Fabian Delph made his return to the Villa starting line up after his loan move to Leeds last season was cut short by injury, and there were also starts for player of the season Stephen Ireland, and youngsters Nathan Baker, Andreas Weimann and Eric Lichaj.
Gabriel Agbonlahor managed to grab the only goal of the game in the 1-0 victory, before having to go off late on in the game due to a knee complaint. Lambert had this to say after the match:
Lambert also confirmed that it looked like both Agbonlahor and Darren Bent would now miss the next two weeks of the pre season preparations due to their injuries, which may persuade Lambert to go back into the transfer market for an extra striker as back up. With Ron Vlaar’s transfer still currently on hold as Villa assess their options still further, it could be that a striker may now be at the top of his priorities. Not only will Lambert be wary of the injuries his current strikers have picked up so far, he will also be aware that Aston Villa were one of the lowest scoring teams in the entire campaign last time out. The new manager will have to ensure he finds the answer to Villa’s goal scoring problems, whether that is a change of tactics, or a change of personnel.
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