The new football season kicks off this weekend with Aston Villa going into the Championship, a league unknown, with a trip up north to take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. What chances do Roberto Di Matteo’s men have of an immediate return to the Premier League?
The bookies rate Aston Villa as one of the favourites to return and, like me, you can find top odds at Williamhill.com.au.
Let’s take a look at these odds:
Newcastle United (7-4 favourites)
It is no real surprise that the Magpies find themselves as favourites with former Champions League-winning manager Rafael Benitez in charge.
The Geordies have spent just over £40 million this summer on signings like Matt Richie, Dwight Gayle and former Villa defender Ciaran Clark.
Despite the big spending, the club has actually made £5 million profit overall through sales.
It is to be expected that they are the bookies’ favourites and they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Norwich City (9-1)
Alex Neil will be looking for an immediate return to the Premier League, although it is rumoured that the club has some financial issues.
The Canaries have picked up a couple of good signings in Alex Pritchard from Tottenham Hotspur and Sergi Canos from Liverpool. Losing Nathan Redmond will be a big blow to them but they have managed to keep the majority of their squad together.
Neil will ensure that the Canaries are hard to beat and he will be hoping for a strong start to the 2016-17 season.
Aston Villa (10-1)
According to the bookies, the Villans will push the other two relegated sides for an automatic promotion spot. However, a lot of work is needed from new manager Roberto Di Matteo so that we don’t see a repeat of the lacklustre performances that saw us relegated last season.
The Italian’s promotion hopes will be boosted by new signing Ross McCormack, as the Scottish striker has scored more goals than any other player since 2008 in the Championship.
Derby County (10-1)
Derby County can be found at the same odds as ourselves for ourselves and are always there or thereabouts when it comes to a promotion push.
The Rams are yet to enter the transfer market this summer but their best arrival this summer will, in my opinion, be new manager Nigel Pearson. The former Leicester City manager will want to prove some of his critics wrong and repeat what he did with Leicester City with their East Midland rivals.
Brighton & Hove Albion (12-1)
The Seagulls are a much stronger outfit under former Newcastle United and Birmingham City manager, Chris Hughton.
The Seagulls were very unlucky not to have secured promotion last season.
This summer, they have picked up experienced former Villa midfielder Steve Sidwel
Wolves (12-1), Sheffield Wednesday (16-1), Ipswich Town (33-1) and Birmingham City (40-1) are all teams worth keeping an eye on. This proves the strength and depth in this league and shows that returning to the holy grail of the Premier League won’t be a walk in the park for Aston Villa.
This should be a great Championship season; let’s just hope that it is a very good season for Aston Villa Football Club and its long-suffering fans.