Nothing like a good ol English Championship division promotion story on the day of the Champions League final. Joining Norwich and Sheffield United in the English top flight is Aston Villa, who mark their return to the league since their relegation in 2015/16. Led by Dean Smith with John Terry alongside him at the helm of the club, Aston Villa now look to make a long stay back at the top of English football.
Finishing 5th in the Championship division, Villa saw off West Bromwich Albion before defeating Frank Lampard’s Derby County side to seal their passage back to the Premier League. An impressive season led by Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham has sparked some real promise into this side who aim to make an impression in their first campaign back in the Premier League. With young team captain Jack Grealish running the show in the midfield, Villa could establish quite the attacking tandem with Abraham should the latter seek a permanent contract with the Claret and Blue.
Villa will certainly look to make an impact next season after a dreadful campaign back in 2015/16 in the top flight. A troubling season that saw the Villains pick up just 3 wins has seen them banished to the Championship… until now. What should you expect from Villa next season? Well, lemme tell you
ASTON VILLA 2019/20 SEASON
It’s always easy to pick the newly promoted sides as favorites for relegation but it may be a bit premature with this Villa side. Earning promotion has all but sealed a stay for star man Grealish who now re-enters the Premier League as a rising star, no longer a rising prospect. With playing time looking difficult to come by, it looks increasingly likely that Abraham will look to stay with Villa having guaranteed himself a starting berth for a top flight team.
Should Villa want to make a long term stay in the league, it may be time to invest in some younger defenders or bring some up from the reserves/academy. With all listed defenders over the age of 30 (minus loanees Axel Tuanzebe, Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause), Villa have a very aging backline that have the talent to perform at a high level, but not sustainably. Favoring a 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3 system, manager Dean Smith should not necessarily look for replacements, but to secure permanent loan-to-buy signings if possible and find or groom younger options for players like Ahmed Elmohamady, James Chester and Neil Taylor.
In the midfield, Villa will look to slot right in as a promising attacking side with Grealish, Andre Green, Josh McGinn and Conor Hourihane all capable of creating chances or finishing them off. Defensively however, Villa must look for a long term replacement for the defensive midfielder in the 4-1-4-1 formation, with Mile Jedinak and Glenn Whelan both in their mid 30s. Whether it be a permanent position for Hourihane or not, Villa need to explore for more younger, long term options to compete in the Premier League in the years to come.
Above all, for Villa to have a good standing in the Premier League next season, they once again need to ace their loan signings and/or make last season’s acquisitions permanent. With all of this in mind, there is no reason to write Villa off already.
ASTON VILLA PREDICTED FINISH: 14th
Welcome back, Villa.
Written by Andrew Diefenderfer if you think he is wrong about Villa’s spot for next year go let him have it on Twitter @Diefdorf.