After a two-season absence, Aston Villa are back in the English Premier League. A 2-1 win over Derby County saw them win the Championship play-off final and now they are back in the top-flight. How will they do in their first season back in the big time? The hard work starts now for Villa.
A lucrative return to the Premier League wasn’t looking likely at the end of February. Villa wasn’t even in the top ten and had gone five games without a win. The return of Jack Grealish turned everything around and the next ten league matches were all won.
That run of form took them into the play-off places and their eventual triumph at Wembley. Now their task is to stay in the Premier League and recent performances by other promoted clubs indicate that it would be an easy ride.
Tough Time for Promoted Clubs
Of the three teams relegated from the Premier League this season, Cardiff City and Fulham were both newly promoted sides. They were joined by Huddersfield Town who were in their second season since being promoted. Villa will hope to follow in the footsteps of local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers who qualified for the Europa League in their first season back in the Premier League.
Sportnation have a wide range of ante-post betting markets on the 2019/20 Premier League season and many other top leagues. They have Aston Villa at 1000/1 to win the title next season. Not even their most famous supporter Prince William might place that wager but after Leicester City’s title win, you never know, do you?
Their promotion to the Premier League should be enough to keep Jack Grealish happy. He must stay at Villa Park for them to have any chance of survival. The addition of some experienced midfielders is necessary too.
Problems Up Front?
Villa scored 81 goals in the Championship this season but look set to lose their top goalscorer. Tammy Abraham has scored 26 goals for them, with no other player getting into double figures. Abraham is on loan from Chelsea and reports suggest he’s heading back to Stamford Bridge.
Manager Dean Smith will have a headache finding a replacement if Abraham does depart Villa Park. There have been links to players like Dwight Gayle but this could be a big decision for Smith.
Defending is another area in which Villa must tighten up. They conceded 61 league goals in the 2018/19 season, how many might they let in back in the Premier League. Obviously, things improved in the second half of the season but half of the regular back four were also loans.
Villa’s last six seasons in the Premier League saw them fail to make the top ten. Sportnation have the Midlands side at 9/2 for a top-ten finish next season (its 2/15 on them finishing lower than tenth). That’s something they could well achieve with most of the teams in the Premier League struggling for consistency. West Ham filled tenth spot in the 2018/19 season, despite losing 16 games.
There will be plenty of optimism at Villa Park after their promotion. When the celebrations finally end, they will realise that a long hard season awaits them in the Premier League unless their squad is significantly strengthened