Aston Villa have returned to the English Premier League after a three-season absence. Two of the three teams relegated last season were newly promoted teams. Villa don’t want to add to that list and have been big spenders in the summer transfer window.
It was a game of two distinctly different halves for Aston Villa last season. Villa were constantly involved in high-scoring games. That left them outside the top ten in the Championship. Then they went on a fantastic run that took them into the play-off positions. The season ended in glory as they beat Derby County in the play-off final.
Aston Villa have been extremely busy in the summer transfer window. They have seriously strengthened their squad over the past few weeks. The return of top scorer Tammy Abraham to parent club Chelsea has been a blow. Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi have both had their loan deals turned into permanent signings. Defender Ezri Konsa has been signed from Brentford. He’s joined by midfielder Diogo Jonta from Birmingham City. He also used to play under Villa boss Dean Smith in his Brentford days. You can get 100/1 (101.0) at SkyBet on him being Premier League top goalscorer.
Wesley Moraes has been signed from Club Brugge for £22m. The Brazilian has scored 27 goals in the past two seasons. Matt Targett has joined the club from Southampton for £12m. Bjorn Engels has been signed from Stade Riems for an undisclosed sum. Villa haven’t stopped spending yet as they bid to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
Villa may have spent a lot of money so far but that doesn’t guarantee success. Fulham went down this road last season and ended up relegated. They have a promising manager in Dean Smith but this is a massive task for him. The odds on Aston Villa being relegated are 2/1 (3.0) at Betfair. It’s odd on that they will survive though. Unibet will give you 2/5 (1.4) on Villa staying up this season.
Two of the three teams relegated last season were newly promoted sides. Only Wolves survived and they finished seventh in the table. It’s a tough ask for Villa to follow in the footsteps of their neighbours. A mid-table finish without any sign of relegation worries would suit them well. A cup run too would be handy as they acclimatize to life in the Premier League. It’s kind of the route that Bournemouth have taken since they arrived in this league.
Aston Villa have made signings aplenty but still lack Premier League experience. They could do with bringing in one or two more players who know the Premier League inside-out. Sorting their defence out is a key target for Villa this season. They have conceded over 100 goals in the last two seasons. Getting their hands on a top goalkeeper is an important task for them.
Early Fixture List
10 August: Tottenham (away)
17 August: Bournemouth (home)
23 August: Everton (home)
31 August: Crystal Palace (away)
16 September: West Ham United (home)
The opening fixture is a toughie but the next two home games could produce good results. Looking further ahead, October sees them playing Norwich City and Brighton and Hove Albion. Those are games Villa will look to win. That’s especially the case as Manchester City and Liverpool are up next. If Villa did get off to a bad start, the pressure will be on their manager. Dean Smith is 16/1 (17.0) at BetVictor to be the next Premier League manager to leave his club.
With more signings likely, Villa are making a bold bid to re-establish themselves in the Premier League. There’s a lot of work for them to do but a relegation battle looks unlikely. It’ll be interesting to see how Jack Grealish adapts to playing in this league. A good season for Grealish should mean a comfortable one for his team. It’s good to see Villa back in the top-flight. A mid-table finish is likely this season. Betway have odds of 5/1 (6.0) on Villa finishing in the top ten.