Following their pre-season in the United States, Aston Villa will take on Lazio at the Bescot Stadium. After participating in the Premier League Summer Series, Villa are putting the finishing touches on their preparations. Their Italian rivals will shortly be making their Champions League comeback.
Preview (Aston Villa vs Lazio)
Aston Villa finished the Premier League’s new Summer Series with two 3-3 draws and a win. It was a goal-filled competition that saw Chelsea take the first position. A 2-0 victory over Fulham was wedged between Villa’s six-goal thrillers. Moussa Diaby is a new club record acquisition. He continued to have an impact in the Villans’ 2-1 victory over the Bees on Sunday. The French forward scored his second goal in as many friendly games.
Ezri Konsa also scored a fantastic solo goal against his former team. At FedEx Field, Unai Emery’s squad ultimately settled for an exciting stalemate after scoring another goal through Matty Cash. This weekend, Villa will also go to Valencia in order to get ready for their Premier League debut against Newcastle on August 12. Villa returned to action with a 1-1 tie against nearby rivals Walsall and has since remained unbeaten in preseason action. They return to Bescot Stadium first. Emery is still getting ready for a future Europa Conference League playoff game against a European foe. After their 2022–23 season, Villa climbed the standings to finish in seventh place.
Lazio was no stranger to UEFA competition as Aston Villa struggled in both the Premier League and Championship during the past ten years, but it has been three years since the Rome club last made it to the Champions League. After finishing in the top four of Serie A last season, they will return this autumn. By defeating Empoli in their final game of the 2022–23 season, Biancocelesti secured second place in the standings. They finished ‘best of the rest’ behind Scudetto champions Napoli. Lazio scored 74 points in all, which was their second-best total in a top-flight season and put them ahead of Inter, Roma, and the Champions League finalist Milan.
Aston Villa may return to form on Thursday after experimenting with a three-man defense against Brentford. In that case, either Matty Cash or Ezri Konsa, who both scored last time out, would likely be benched. Along with Moussa Diaby, Youri Tielemans, and Pau Torres, fresh additions to Villa, manager Unai Emery also welcomed Jamaican international Leon Bailey back last week after the winger had been given time off following the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Ollie Watkins finished the season with the most goals. Cameron Archer is back in the lineup after a good loan stint at Middlesbrough. He should start up front with Diaby set to provide assistance.
Aaron Ramsey and Jacob Ramsey, both from the area, are still out due to injuries, and Bertrand Traore, Alex Moreno, and Colombian striker Jhon Duran are also absent this time. Meanwhile, Valentin Castellanos, Lazio’s marquee acquisition this summer, may make another appearance after stepping in for Ciro Immobile in last week’s victory over Bravo. Either Felipe Anderson or Pedro should start on the right wing in Maurizio Sarri’s tried-and-true 4-3-3 formation as part of a recognizable attacking trident that also includes Ciro Immobile and Mattia Zaccagni.
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