The 2019/20 Premier League season has been a mixed bag for Aston Villa at times. Sitting just above the relegation zone, the Villans are still far from confirming their place in the Premier League for another season.
Villa’s next fixture is a tricky one against Champions League-hunting Spurs as well, with Tottenham priced at around 4/5 favourites with the best online bookies, demonstrating just how big the challenge will be for Dean Smith’s men. After Tottenham, there will be just a dozen games left so what do Villa need to do to stave off relegation this season?
It seems rather simple, but scoring goals is literally the key to winning games. Villa’s top goalscorer this season is Jack Grealish with nine. Not one player is into double figures with Wesley the highest-scoring striker with just six and even he is out injured for the rest of the season following a knee issue sustained on New Year’s Day.
Two strikers were signed in the January transfer window with Mbwana Samatta and Borja Baston heading to Villa Park. The former netted on debut against Bournemouth last weekend which could well be a positive sign of things to come.
Shore up the defence
There’s been no hiding from Villa’s problems at the back. The 47 goals conceded is the highest in the top flight which has done little to help their odds of 8/13 to get relegated. Villa hasn’t kept a clean sheet since Boxing Day and a leaky defence is certainly something which boss Dean Smith needs to rectify before it gets too late. And, with John Terry the assistant coach, the experience and knowledge are there to help inspire the back four.
Tyrone Mings is an exceptionally talented centre-back – the fact he has made his England debut in his time at Villa Park suggests that the quality in defence is definitely there, even if he has been injured for a period of the season. It’s a case of not switching off and eradicating silly mistakes.
Target home games
No head coach should only target home games – of course, managers want to win every fixture – but there comes a time when it appears that the chance of winning at home is so much greater than winning away and that’s exactly what is happening at Villa.
68% of the points gained this season have come at Villa Park with 17 points being taken at home. In fact, Villa would be tenth in the Premier League table if it was on the home form only. But, Villa’s away record is dismal – only Norwich’s record is worse.
With that being said, Smith needs to look at his side’s last eight home games. Villa Park could well be the difference between staying up or going down.