News Update


At AZ Alkmaar, Villa breeze to Conference League victory.

Unai Emery, the manager of Aston Villa, issued a challenge to his team to “show every day” that they can compete after they defeated AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League.

At AFAS Stadion, Villa easily defeated the Dutch team 4-1, and at the halfway point of the group stage, they are tied for second place with the leaders, Legia Warsaw.

After losing to West Ham in the Conference League semifinals the previous season, AZ is presently second in the Eredivisie after being undefeated in their first nine games.

But thanks to goals from John McGinn, Ollie Watkins, Youri Tielemans, and Leon Bailey, Villa made light work of their trip to the Netherlands.

“We have to show every day and show everyone our wishes when we play those matches if we want to be a contender. “I believe we succeeded,” Emery said at a press conference.

“We hold them in high regard due to their participation in last year’s semifinal matchup with West Ham.” They defeated Lazio and Anderlecht in the previous season, and the reason for their success is their background in European championships.

“The players have to be mature, responsible, and demanding of themselves, not only when I’m pushing them, which makes me extremely happy with them. They must make an effort to raise both their personal and group standards.”

With a goal each in the first ten minutes of the half, Bailey and Tielemans gave Villa the ideal start.

Before the half, Alkmaar missed a number of excellent opportunities, including a guilt-edged chance for top scorer Vangelis Pavlidis when he was straight through on goal.

Then, early in the second half, Watkins consolidated the visitors’ lead by being the first to turn home after Bailey’s attempt was saved.

It would be an unforgettable evening as Captain McGinn scored Villa’s fourth goal, displaying a drive to outpace his man and poke in at the near post.

Ibrahim Sadiq, a winger for Alkmaar, pulled one back just after the hour mark with a long-range effort that found the bottom corner.

Villa shares six points with Legia Warsaw, the top team in Group E, but trails the Polish team in the head-to-head record following a 3-2 loss in the competition’s first meeting.

In the lead-up to Thursday’s match, Emiliano Martinez, Villa Villa’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper, praised Emery as “one of the top five managers in the world right now” with confidence and goals flying.

The 51-year-old Emery has won the Europa League four times. From 2014 to 2016, he led Villarreal to victory over Manchester United in the competition’s final three seasons.

Currently, he is attempting to orchestrate Villa’s first trophy victory since their 1996 League Cup victory.

Once they destroyed an Alkmaar team that advanced to the Conference League semifinals in 2022–23 before falling to West Ham, all the signals are very promising.

Even though Villa made four changes from their 4-1 Premier League victory over West Ham on Sunday, they did not miss a beat. Rotation has been crucial as Villa looks to battle on several fronts.

Bailey and Tielemans, two of those replacements, settled in easily as Villa’s high-pressing style allowed them to dominate the opening exchanges.

Bailey broke the scoreless draw with a crisp half-volley, his third consecutive game-winning goal for both club and country. Tielemans then calmly collected McGinn’s defense-splitting through ball and poked it between goalkeeper Mathew Ryan’s legs.

With Bailey’s effort falling nicely into his path from five yards out, Watkins had the easiest finish of the evening to record his ninth goal of the season.

McGinn’s attempt to drive into the area paid off as he scored his second goal of the competition after meeting Jamaican winger Bailey’s low cross.

Under Emery, playing with boldness and pressing high up the field has been a crucial aspect of Villa’s game, and they were rewarded at Alkmaar.

They now have five games without a loss after scoring four goals or more for the sixth time this season.

Villa’s defense still needs work, and they were lucky to finish the first half without giving up a goal.

Minutes after Villa had taken a 2-0 lead, Greek striker Pavlidis, who has 13 goals in nine Eredivisie games this season and scored a hat-trick against Heerenveen the previous weekend, was given a chance.

With the goal at his disposal, Boubacar Kamara dropped the ball on the edge of his own area, and Pavlidis mysteriously fired over the crossbar.

Sadiq’s consolation goal opened up the game far too readily for Villa, who have only kept one clean sheet in their previous five games overall.


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