Will the Villains survive or go straight back down?
Welcome back to ‘The 2019-20 Premier League Season Preview’ – a feature series that previews all 20 clubs of the Premier League ahead of the new football season.
So let’s continue with previewing one of the three newly-promoted clubs in Aston Villa.
MANAGER: Dean Smith
CAPTAIN: Jack Grealish
ODDS TO WIN THE LEAGUE: 1000-1 (via Oddschecker)
After the pain and misery of losing to Fulham in the 2017-18 Championship play-off Final, Villa returned to Wembley twelve months later to get their redemption by beating Derby County and return to the Premier League, where they have been a mainstay since the league was formed back in 1992.
And for a club the size and stature of Aston Villa, being a Premier League club is the absolute minimum for the Villains.
Boss Dean Smith will be keen to ensure Villa’s return to the top flight isn’t a short one, and will hope Jack Grealish can inspire his side to safety.
HOW THEY FINISHED IN THE LAST FIVE SEASONS
2014-15 – 17th (Premier League)
2015-16 – 20th (Premier League)
2016-17 – 13th (Championship)
2017-18 – 4th (Championship)
2018-19 – 5th (Championship)
Championship – 5th (Promoted via play-offs)
FA Cup – Third Round
Carabao Cup – Second Round
Top Scorer – League: Tammy Abraham (25), All: Tammy Abraham (26)
Wesley (Club Brugge, £22m)
Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth, £20m)
Matt Targett (Southampton, £11.5m)
Kortney Hause (Wolverhampton Wanderers, £3m)
Jota (Birmingham City) – Undisclosed
Anwar El Ghazi (Lille) – Undisclosed
Ezri Konsa (Brentford) – Undisclosed
Björn Engels (Stade de Reims) – Undisclosed
Albert Adomah (Nottingham Forest) – Free Transfer
Ritchie De Laet (Royal Antwerp) – Free Transfer
Tommy Elphick (Huddersfield Town) – Free Transfer
Mark Bunn – Released
Alan Hutton – Released
Mile Jedinak – Released
Ross McCormack – Released
Micah Richards – Released
Glenn Whelan – Released
GK – Kalinić, Nyland, Steer
DF – Bree, Chester, Elmohamady, Engels, Guilbert, Hause, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Taylor
MD – Bjarnason, Doyle-Hayles, El Ghazi, Grealish, Green, Hourihane, Jota, Lansbury, McGinn, Tshibola
FW – Davis, Kodjia, Hepburn-Murphy, Hogan, O’Hare, Wesley
PLAYER TO LOOK OUT FOR – BJÖRN ENGELS
Signing for the club earlier this summer from Ligue 1 side Reims, Engels is expected to make an instant impact in the first-team by creating a strong centre-back partnership alongside Tyrone Mings, who signed on a permanent basis after a loan spell at the club last season.
A former Belgian youth international, 24-year-old Engels started his career in the youth system at Club Brugge, going on to graduate into the senior ranks. He also spent time with perenial Greek champions Olympiacos prior to his stint in France.
“Björn is a player that I’ve been watching for the past 18 months. We’re very happy to have secured his services and look forward to working with him.”– Head Coach Dean Smith on Björn Engels
HEAD-TO-HEAD AGAINST CHELSEA
Matches played – 153
Won – 57
Drawn – 34
Lost – 62
HOW MUCH OF A THREAT WILL THEY BE TO CHELSEA?
In the last ten years, Villa have only beaten Chelsea three times in seventeen games.
Villa will be looking to gain points against clubs around them this coming season and I’m positive in that Chelsea will get the maximum six points off the Midlands club this season.
WHERE WILL THEY FINISH?
Without the goals of Tammy Abraham after he returned to Aston Villa, a lot will be expected on the likes of talismanic captain Jack Grealish and new Brazilian signing Wesley to provide the goals this season.
Villa will look to continue to be defensively solid under Dean Smith and hope that their high intense, style of play will cause enough problems for clubs around them to get enough points for them to avoid relegation this season.
Which I believe they’ll do… just.
Predicted position: 17th
Come back for part 3 tomorrow when we preview The Cherries on the coast in Bournemouth.
• Part 1 – Arsenal