This wasn’t always a pretty encounter, far from it, as a much changed Villa side that sometimes laboured against a determined Burton Albion, secured the win. Villa had enough over 90 minutes though, with Jack Grealish the catalyst for a second round Carabao Cup victory.
A shock came early however, with Colin Daniel finding himself in acres of space at Villa’s far post inside two minutes. Daniel fired the ball hard and high above the helpless Orjan Nyland.
Perhaps this would have been cause for concern just a mere couple of seasons ago, but whilst Dean Smith’s side looked unbalanced, it never looked panicked.
Whilst there was much to underline Villa’s need to strengthen and little to suggest that a number of faces on the fringes will threaten the starting XI, there were a number of positives.
Grealish was sublime, a cut above those around him. Jacob Ramsay, just 19, provided an eyebrow raising and mature performance. Hopefully there is more to come from him.
Watkins impressed too; he moves and threatens like a natural goalscorer and it’s a delight / departure from what we’re accustomed.
While Villa did it the hard way (as per usual), this was ultimately a professional result. Watkins scored a well worked equaliser, Grealish a fine volley from a corner to put us in the lead and Davis wrapped up proceedings with a coolly taken third, slotting home in injury time.
Orjan Nyland – Not at fault for the hosts goal and largely untroubled once Villa woke up. A couple of poor pieces of distribution aside, a quiet evening for the soon to be third/fourth choice keeper
Neil Taylor – Battled and harried, particularly as Burton battled in the early portion of the game. Delivered a pin point pass to Watkins to score, after he’d realised Grealish had played a clever through ball to him.
Ahmed Elmohamady – Not everyone’s cup of tea but a calm performance from Elmo. Put in a number of dangerous balls into the box.
Tyrone Mings – Untroubled and physically in control at all times. Unlucky with a first half volley going just wide.
Kortney Hause – Good movement across the back line and cut an imposing partnership with Mings, deputising for first choice Konsa. Took a headed opportunity away from Watkins when the striker was better placed to score.
Henri Lansbury – Delivered a superb cross from a late corner for Grealish to volley home. However, it cannot detract from a largely anonymous performance in the centre of midfield.
Marvellous Nakamba – An upbeat and positive performance from the midfielder who ran tirelessly. Made a number of interceptions and looked sharp.
Anwar El Ghazi – A confused performance that contributed little, particularly as Villa were looking to get back into the tie. Put a good low ball into the box early on, but otherwise offered little to inspire confidence.
Jack Grealish – Made a number of clever and slick moves, often unsupported. Provided a superb through ball for Taylor to provide the opener and saw Watkins strike the bar after a touchline run late in the first half. Scored a technically excellent volley. Easily man of the match.
Jacob Ramsay – Justified his selection with a mature display. Moved the ball quickly and intelligently. Demonstrated a threat getting forward or trying to move the play into dangerous areas. An exciting prospect.
Ollie Watkins – The big money striker got a deserved debut goal but could have had three. Struck the bar and unlucky on more than one occasion. Great movement and demonstrated a predatory nature in the final third. Just what we need.
Jota: Went close with a curled effort and a goal ruled out for offside. Postive. Davis: Grabbed a tidy goal late on, slotting home after running onto a through ball. A good morale boost for the goal-shy striker. Luiz: Composed and silky when he came on, top dollar midfielder.
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