Preview: Aston Villa vs. Brentford

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Brentford

Both playing their final fixture of the Premier League Summer Series, Aston Villa and Brentford meet in Maryland on Sunday.

While the Bees have been beaten twice since traveling to the United States, Villa has scored five goals in two games and remains undefeated.

Joining Chelsea atop the Summer Series standings on four points, Aston Villa secured their first win of the pre-season period on Wednesday, when they beat Fulham 2-0 in Orlando.

After over an hour of delay due to thunderstorms, the Villans’ new club-record signing Moussa Diaby scored on his first appearance in a claret and blue shirt, following a Cameron Archer penalty miss and Jaden Philogene’s opening goal.

France winger Diaby – who arrived for a reported ¬£51.9m fee earlier this month – was introduced by boss Unai Emery at half time, and after showing flashes of his potential then added Villa’s second with a powerful low strike.

The West Midlands side had already followed their pre-season opener at Walsall – which ended 1-1 at Bescot Stadium – with a 3-3 draw against Premier League rivals Newcastle United in Pennsylvania, as they warm up for the 2023-24 campaign.

Newcastle will be Villa’s opponents again at St James’ Park in a fortnight’s time, for their first competitive match of the new season, but first, they are set to take on Brentford before tackling Lazio and Valencia early next month.

Emery’s squad is also preparing for a Europa Conference League playoff, having stormed up the standings to finish seventh in 2022-23, while new recruits Diaby, Youri Tielemans, and Pau Torres start to settle in.

By contrast with Sunday’s opponents, Brentford fell to another defeat in their second Summer Series game on Wednesday, being beaten 2-0 by Brighton at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Bees went behind midway through the first half in Atalanta, then saw their deficit doubled in the 58th minute. Despite pushing hard to ignite a fightback, with forwards Keane Lewis-Potter and Bryan Mbeumo both coming close to scoring, Thomas Frank’s side were unable to work their way back into the game.

Having started the Premier League’s Stateside tournament with a 3-2 loss to Fulham last week, Brentford are still searching for a first pre-season victory – they were also held 1-1 by National League club Boreham Wood upon their return to action.

Concluding the 2022-23 campaign in style, Frank’s men had finished with a flourish in May; beating West Ham United, Manchester City, and Tottenham in their final three fixtures to secure ninth place in the table.

Since promotion to the top flight, Brentford has already progressed from finishing 13th in 2021-22 to secure a top-half spot last term, but it remains to be seen how the absence of top scorer and talisman Ivan Toney will affect the London club’s fortunes in the season ahead.

They kick off the new campaign at home to Spurs in two weeks’ time, after meeting Villa at FedExField and then hosting Lille for a friendly next weekend.

Aston Villa friendly form:
DDW

Brentford friendly form:
DLL

We say: Aston Villa 2-1 Brentford
After some more impressive recruitment, Aston Villa can now select from several options in the final third, so they should have too much firepower for a Brentford side that has started pre-season slowly. The Birmingham club is likely to score more than once in Maryland, while their opponents’ new-look attack will take time to gel.

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