Aston Villa Season Preview: How will Villa's Premier League return pan out?
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Aston Villa Season Preview: How will Villa's Premier League return pan out?

It's the club's first season in the top division since relegation in 2016. And they've spent big to try and make an impression.

matthew-wojciow
Matthew Wojciow

Aston Villa are about to embark on their first season back in the Premier League since their relegation in 2016. 

Villa returned to the Premier League thanks to beating Derby County 2-1 back in May in the Championship Play-off Final at Wembley. 

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It is not the easiest of starts for Villa, as they have to travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face last season's Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur. 

When it comes to a successful return to the Premier League, Villa should look to Wolves of last season, who were able to secure European football in their maiden campaign back in the top flight.

Transfer Business

Aston Villa have been very busy this summer adding 12 players to their squad for this return. 

There has been a right mix of Premier League experience with some players from abroad. 

Tyrone Mings has returned after his loan spell at the back end of last season. Anwar El Ghazi has also returned after completing a loan spell last season. The signing of Tom Heaton from Burnley is a superb signing as he will provide an experienced head in the team and he will give the defence a form of reassurance.

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There have been some exciting young players brought in to the side to add that bit of flair that is needed in the Premier League. Players like Douglas Luiz, Ezri Konsa and Wesley are full of potential but they will all need to hit the ground running to avoid a poor start to the season which could leave them in an unwanted relegation battle. Speaking of Wesley, Villa fans will be hoping he can be similar to the success they found with Christian Benteke all those years ago, who was signed from the Belgian Pro League as well.

Villa have got rid a lot of the ageing members which could have disrupted the energy of the squad. All the players that were let go barring Gary Gardner were on the wrong side of 30, which if Villa want to have another long stay in the Premier League this was probably the best idea. 

The big worry for Aston Villa is that they don't fall into the same trap as Fulham did last season. Fulham spent over £100 million as well and they finished 19th. Aston Villa, though have bought some more experienced Premier League heads so maybe they won't fall into the same trap. 

Where the season will be won or lost

The main aim of a newly promoted side is to maintain solid home form, as this is the key to survival. 

Making Villa Park a fortress will be where this season can be won or lost. Last time Villa were in the Premier League they only managed two wins at home all season which led to them finishing bottom of the league and over 20 points away from safety. In that same season, Sunderland who stayed up in 17th managed this by winning nearly a third of their home matches.

One to watch 

Callum O'Hare

Having produced some very good players in recent years and developing young players greatly Villa have used their time in the Championship to bleed in some young blood. This pre-season this has been Callum O'Hare.

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The 21-year-old attacking midfielder played a key role in Villa's stellar pre-season. O'Hare impressed greatly in his minutes on the pitch during the pre-season.

O'Hare made his Villa debut in 2017 but only featured four times that season. It was last season, during his loan spell in Cumbria with Carlisle United that O'Hare started to turn heads. He featured 16 times scoring three times but he did become a firm fan's favourite in that time. 

Potential wildcard

Jota

One of the summer recruits, Jota arrived from Birmingham City after what was an underwhelming season for the Spaniard across town, only scoring three times in 41 appearances in the league. 

Jota though is coming back to work with his former boss at Brentford Dean Smith and maybe if Smith can get Jota's confidence back, the Spanish winger could replicate his form during the 16-17 campaign which saw him find the net on 12 occasions. 

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He is already linking up well with Wesley up top in pre-season, so this could prove to be a vital partnership for Villa in their push to maintain Premier League football.

What to expect

This could be a very difficult season for Villa. Due to the number of signings, they have made it could be tricky for them to gather a lot of points in the opening weeks of the season as the players learn to gel with each other. 

Despite a daunting opening fixture away to Spurs, they do have two less tough games back on home turf against Bournemouth and Everton respectively. 

If they can replicate the success found with Benteke in their new frontman, Wesley, then Villa should be comfortable. A major plus in Villa's favour is that if they do get hit with a few injuries, they have on paper adequate replacements in all the key areas of the field. It will be interesting to see if this young squad will have the mental toughness to succeed in the Premier League.

The cups could provide a nice distraction throughout the season and maybe Villa can have another memorable trip to Wembley later in the season. 

Predicted finish: 13th

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