Preview: Aston Villa (v) Middlesbrough (Friendly) – Tides have turned for both sides ahead of new season.

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This lacklustre final pre-season fixture couldn’t be a more appropriate in demonstrating Villa’s slide in recent years.  In short, it’s hardly one to get the pulse racing.

In seasons preior, we’ve challenged ourselves to the likes of Inter Milan, Fiorentina, Parma and Werder Bremen; newly promoted Premier League side Middlesbrough are the final warm up before the new season.

For Villa, pre-season has been a mixed bag of both performances and team selections, with the 8-0 win at Graz offset against worryingly one dimensional displays as seen as Telford & Nantes.

Still, it’s all a good for fitness and putting into practice the [hopefully] new ideas of Roberto Di Matteo and his team.

Middlesbrough come to Villa Park on a high following promotion to the Premier League and having secured a raft of summer signings.  The financial rewards of staying in the top flight clearly playing on their mind, as they completely overhaul a successful Championship squad.

Football will also throw up one of its more unusual quirks, with Brad Guzan having completed a free transfer to The Boro on Friday, a possibility to appear against us.

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Villa have taken a wholesale approach to pre-season and haven’t consistently fielded a group you could say appear to be the “core” for the new campaign.  

Whilst this would be expected in the early close season, it’s clear that RDM is far from settling on a first eleven for the opening away tie with Sheffield Wednesday a week away.

This is now compounded by approaches for key figures Idrissa Gana, Jordan Veretout and Jordan Ayew.  Only time will tell on this front, but it certainly doesn’t help preparations.

This will, for many fans, be the first chance to see Villa under Di Matteo, hopefully the three new recruits, youth and remnants of our squad show some promise ahead of what will be a very important season.

The Middlesbrough game at Villa Park is also expected to be streamed live via Villa’s official Facebook page, although there may not be any commentary.

Kick off is 3pm (Saturday 30th July) – Adults £10 – Concessions 

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