Tottenham, West Ham and Aston Villa showed some Premier League muscle against lower league opposition in this evening’s round of friendly matches.
Reading 0-3 West Ham
A wonderful solo goal from right-back Ben Johnson capped an impressive run-out for West Ham at Championship Reading.
The Irons dominated throughout and would have won by a heavier margin had it not been for some athletic interventions from Reading keeper Rafael.
Pablo Fornals was making his first pre-season appearance for West Ham, but David Moyes’s side were still without their four Euro 2020 stars, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Andriy Yarmolenko.
It was a Fornals header in the opening exchanges that first had Rafael on his toes, palming the effort wide.
Rafael was called on again to clutch Jarrod Bowen’s strike from distance and soon after beat the lively winger to a Michail Antonio cross.
It was a Bowen corner that helped the visitors take a fortunate lead. Issa Diop made a near-post run and in the confusion the ball deflected off a thigh of Reading’s Joel Dorsett for 1-0.
It was a similar story after the break and the second goal came straight out of the West Ham academy.
Just before the hour, Nathan Holland had an opportunity to shoot on the edge of the penalty area but opted to play the ball wide right to the onrushing Johnson.
His low, hard cross was met by Conor Coventry at the far post and West Ham doubled their lead.
Johnson provided the highlight of the evening after 75 minutes, collecting the ball 25 yards from goal and setting off on a diagonal run that left four Reading players kicking at air before slamming home West Ham’s third.
Moyes was pleased with the performance. “There were a lot of good things,” he said.
“Most of the players are in good condition and tonight was tough because of the warmth and Reading are probably a week ahead of us as well, so it was a good workout for the players.”
Colchester 0-3 Tottenham
Dele Alli was among the goals as Tottenham secured their first win under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
League Two Colchester were overrun in the first half as Spurs rattled in three goals before the break.
After a bright opening 10 minutes, Lucas Moura released Steven Bergwijn through the middle and his unselfish pass across goal picked out Heung-Min Son who slid his shot under Colchester keeper Shamal George.
Son turned provider four minutes later, his corner allowing Lucas to smash a near-post header high past George for 2-0.
With seven minutes to go to half-time, it was Son again creating the danger, bursting down the right before looping over a cross which Dele converted with his chest from close range.
“The tempo, the intensity, the rhythm of the game was good,” said a smiling Nuno Espirito Santo.
“The boys worked really, really hard, that was the main point.
“It’s all about building, improving, getting faster, getting stronger.”
Walsall 0-4 Aston Villa
Aston Villa new-boy Emiliano Buendia was one of the standout performers as League Two Walsall were swept away at the Banks’s Stadium.
The £35million summer signing from Norwich laid on two first-half goals for Ollie Watkins, the opener on 26 minutes coming after Buendia’s pinpoint pass split the home team’s defence, allowing Villa’s striker to round Jack Rose in the Walsall goal.
Seven minutes from half-time the dynamic duo linked up again, this time Watkins running on to Buendia’s through ball to place an accurate shot diagonally across goal.
Villa changed all of their outfield players for the second half but there was no let up for the hosts.
Youngsters Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Aaron Ramsey both fired home impressively to confirm the Premier League club’s dominance.
Villa boss Dean Smith missed the action as he was ‘isolating with his family’ according to a club statement.