Why Saturday’s game was the strangest one yet

Despite all this, there were a few significant milestones on Saturday, most notably a first game for Donny van de Beek. The midfielder, who has only trained with his new team-mates for a few days – gave a solid performance for the Reds, while Dean Henderson, returning from his loan move at Sheffield United, similarly impressed.

It was also a day to remember for Anthony Elanga. I was in attendance at Salford City on Wednesday, as the young Swede put in a superb showing in our Under-21s’ 6-0 win, and the Villa Park trip was the ideal opportunity to hand the winger a maiden senior appearance.

As for Ethan Galbraith and Teden Mengi, both of whom have previously played a competitive match in Ole’s first team, the young duo were given another opportunity to show the boss exactly what they can do.

Chuck in a few debuts for the opposition, and the first outing for our much-talked-about new third kit, and amid the relative hush at Villa Park there was actually quite a lot to take in.


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