Match: Minnesota United v Aston Villa
Date: Wednesday 17th July 2019
Venue: Allianz Field
Grealish, Lansbury, Bjarnason
First half: Steer, Bree, Konsa, Hause, Targett, Hourihane, Grealish (C), O'Hare, El Ghazi, Jota, Wesley
Second half: Kalinic, Guilbert, Chester (C), Mings, Taylor, McGinn, Bjarnason, Lansbury, Green, Davis, Hogan
Story in brief
Aston Villa made a comfortable start to their pre-season schedule in America, defeating Minnesota United 3-0 at Allianz Field.
It was the claret and blue's first outing since the epic promotion clincher at Wembley seven weeks ago, and the side came through unscathed after six days of intense training in Minneapolis.
Jack Grealish broke the deadlock in the first half with a trademark cut infield, followed by a quality curving shot that nestled into the bottom-right corner.
Twenty-two players were given a half of football by Head Coach Dean Smith as we made 11 changes at half-time.
After the break, right-back debutant Frederic Guilbert's perfect delivery was met by Henri Lansbury, before Birkir Bjarnason thumped home Andre Green's cross with his head.
New signings impress
There were some strong showings from this summer's incomings at Allianz Field, with all adjusting well in claret and blue.
Jota was the standout performer from the first half as he almost helped us find the opener with a lovely dinked chip over to Anwar El Ghazi. The Spaniard also looked slick in possession – beating his markers and displaying some silky touches.
Ezri Konsa looked rock solid in his first game at centre-back, while Guilbert's rapid pace and high work rate down the right side helped seal the win.
Wesley too came close to a memorable debut – skimming the roof of the Minnesota net with his first shot for the club.
We head to Shrewsbury Town on Sunday as the squad head back to the UK for Premier League preparations.
Then, we'll visit Walsall in midweek before a trip to Charlton Athletic the following weekend.
RB Lepizig will be our final pre-season friendly at the beginning of August, before our top-flight opener at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday 10th August.
We'll hear from Dean Smith and Birkir Bjarnason on Thursday.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be showing an extended highlights package of the Minnesota match later today and not at 1pm as planned.