Premier League Preview: Aston Villa
With the new Premier League season now under two weeks away, we are going to be previewing every club before the new season kicks off. Next up is last year’s escape artists Aston Villa.
Ben Chrisene (Exeter) Undisclosed
Ross McCormack (Released) Callum O’Hare (Released) Jack Birch (Released) Anton Hooper (Released) Colin Odutayo (Released) Dimitri Sea (Released) Jamie Searle (Released) Kelsey Mooney (Scunthorpe) Free James Chester (Stoke) Free
LAST YEAR FINISH:
REASONS TO BE POSITIVE:
Experience. Many pundits last year predicted that Aston Villa were going to be relegated before a ball was even kicked.
Villa are a team that need to be in the Premier League, it makes it a better competition when Villa are there. The pressure was huge and it was all led by a manager who had never managed a game in the top flight.
This time around they will be more streetwise, they know what it takes to win and what is needed to string a series of results together in an incredibly competitive league.
Momentum. Written off pre lock down, the pundits assumed that Villa were as good as down. However after the completion of the 10 matches they ended up playing, Villa found themselves ending up 13th in the restart league table. Knowing that they picked up points when they absolutely had too, must give them confidence for when the new season starts.
Jack Grealish. It’s been a quiet window in terms of Jack Grealish transfer rumours, but the sharks are circling, with Man Utd apparently rumoured to be lining up a bid. Pre lockdown, Grealish at times seemed to be winning games for Villa on his own. He finished the season with 8 goals, laid on 91 chances leaving him only behind Kevin De Bruyne in terms of chances created, he was their top goal scorer and laid on the most assists.
Grealish is fundamental to Villa’s success and you get a sense that Villa will only go as far as Grealish can take them.
REASONS TO BE CONCERNED
Goals. They only managed 41 last season with Jack Grealish the teams top scorer with 8. More will be needed from Wesley when he is back fit. Ollie Watkins is reportedly a prime target from Brentford but the transition from Championship to Premier League wont be the easiest. Villa need to find a way of getting more goals into the team.
Shoring up a leaky defence. Only relegated Norwich conceded more than the 67 goals Villa conceded last year. Villa want to play an expansive brand of football, but at times they were leaving themselves far too open at the back. If Villa are to continue to engage in their attacking brand of football they need to find a better balance of shoring things up at the back.
Investment. With the new season now less than two weeks away, Villa fans must be getting anxious with the lack of investment in this window. There are areas all over the pitch that Villa need to strengthen, the signings will come but will they be the clubs top targets? The starting 11 needs upgrading but it will require investment - is the money there or will there need to be more offloads before players start coming in?
PREMIER LEAGUE BLOG PREDICTION:
We have a fear that Jack Grealish might be prized out of Villa before the end of the window and losing Grealish will leave a massive dent in the side that we don’t think will be replaced.
We are also concerned about a current lack of investment. Villa need reinforcements particularly at the back. The signings may well come but they look like they will be late in the window and these players will need some time to bed into the side.
We see Villa putting up a fight but sadly a lack of quality and goals sees them just getting relegated.