Match: Aston Villa v West Ham United
Date: Wednesday 25th July 2018
Venue: Banks's Stadium
Antonio, Arnautovic, Snodgrass
Steer, Bree, Elphick (Elmohamady 58), Chester (Jedinak 58), Hutton (Taylor 80), Adomah (De Laet 60), Whelan (Gardner 74), Doyle-Hayes (Lansbury 58), Hourihane (Bjarnason 58), Grealish (Green 74), Kodjia (Knibbs 74). SUBS NOT USED: Sarkic.
Story in brief
Aston Villa fell to their first pre-season defeat as West Ham United emerged victorious in our final UK-based warm-up game.
Michail Antonio found the net with a low-driven effort into the bottom-left corner after just 10 minutes to set the Hammers on their way.
And despite playing some good stuff either side of the opener, the visitors doubled their advantage through Marco Arnautovic.
Villa remained competitive throughout but couldn't prevent a third going past them in the 84th minute, as last season's popular loan signing Robert Snodgrass rounded Jed Steer to seal victory.
We did grab a consolation just a minute later, as Andre Green fired home from range.
Three in a row for 3-5-2 formation
Steve Bruce went for three at the back for the third game in succession – this time starting James Chester, Tommy Elphick and Alan Hutton inside James Bree and Albert Adomah.
Ritchie De Laet, Andre Green and Neil Taylor later fitted into the system that seems to be on the menu for the upcoming campaign.
It could now get one final try-out when the squad head to Germany to face Dynamo Dresden, before our Sky Bet Championship season gets going on Monday 6th August.
Another element that Bruce was keen to experiment from his squad was central midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes.
The 19-year-old was kept at home while the remainder of the U23 squad flew out to Denmark for a pre-season camp – getting his opportunity to impress at Bank's Stadium.
And he fared well against vastly experienced opposite numbers Jack Wilshere and Mark Noble in the heart of the West Ham midfield.
With the 3-5-2 system allowing for an extra central player on the pitch, could Doyle-Hayes be a Young Lion we see come to the fore this term?
World Cup trio return
Ahmed Elmohamady, Birkir Bjarnason and Mile Jedinak all took to the field for the first time since returning from their FIFA World Cup ventures this summer.
All three were introduced with around half an hour left to play, with Bjarnason looking particularly busy in trying to get forward down the left.
And with just over 10 days until our opening game at Hull, it now seems the trio will be more than ready and vying for starting spots.
We now go to Dynamo Dresden this Saturday for our final pre-season match.
Then, it's Hull City away on Monday 6th August, where our Sky Bet Championship campaign kicks-off.