ASTON VILLA SEASON PREVIEW 2021-22

Aston Villa returned to the Premier League in 2019 after getting relegated in the 2015-16 season. Their first season back in the top flight was underwhelming as they could only manage 9 wins in the campaign and they avoided relegation by just a point. The following season, relegation was set to be inevitable but the club had other ideas. Villa managed an 11th place finish with 16 wins last season. The position does not do justice to their performance as they were tearing apart teams last season including the demolition of defending champions Liverpool 7-2 at Villa Park. Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins were the stars of the team last season as their stellar performances helped the club on multiple occasions. But with the former having left the club for a British transfer record, are they going to improve from last season or are they headed towards a season of misery, let’s find out. 

Transfers In

Emiliano Buendia

The most important player arriving at Villa Park this season has got to be the Argentine winger. Buendia had 31 goal contributions in 39 games last season for Norwich City as he helped the club gain promotion to the Premier League. He was an influential performer for Norwich last season and must put in the same level of hardwork if he wishes to succeed at Villa Park. Jack Grealish’s departure means Villa requires a playmaker and they need not look further than Buendia. His form will be crucial to the club’s success next season.

Danny Ings

Danny Ings shocked all of England when he was announced as an Aston Villa player. The English striker made a sudden move to Villa from Southampton. There were no rumours regarding the transfer and all we heard was the end of it. Nevertheless, Ings’ arrival would boost the Aston Villa camp. Danny Ings has been a regular Premier League goalscorer. He is there when his team needs him the most and he delivers more often than not. But with Watkins being a similar player and both capable of challenging for the number 1 spot, would manager Dean Smith go with experience or youth?

Leon Bailey

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY – APRIL 17: Leon Bailey of Bayer Leverkusen celebrates after scoring their team’s third goal during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and 1. FC Koeln at BayArena on April 17, 2021 in Leverkusen, Germany. Sporting stadiums around Germany remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel – Pool/Getty Images)

The Jamaican winger was one of the most exciting youngsters in the Bundesliga last season. The 23-year-old had established himself as a regular starter for Leverkusen and got 9 goals and 8 assists in the league last season. His pace and quick feet will come in handy when he comes up against teams in the Premier League. He will be an exciting player to watch if he fits in this developing Villa side.

Apart from these, Ashley Young has joined Villa on a free transfer from Serie A winners Inter Milan. The 36-year-old is well past his best but is a great backup option for right and left back and can occasionally play on the wing as well. Right back Frederic Guilbert has also rejoined the club after a loan spell in Ligue 1.

Transfers Out

Jack Grealish

Villa’s star man Grealish left fans heartbroken as he left his boyhood club to join Premier League champions Manchester City for a British transfer record. He was their main player for the last many seasons and the side is just not going to be the same without him. His charming ability on the ball lit up Villa Park and will surely be missed by both players and fans.

Mbwana Samatta and Tom Heaton have also departed the club to join Fenerbahce and Manchester United respectively. Grealish and Samatta’s transfers fetched the club £111.15m. 

The club has already spent £95.04m so any other incoming transfer is looking unlikely. Manchester United centre back Axel Tuanzebe is rumoured to join Villa on a loan deal. The transfer will be beneficial for both the club and player but we will have to wait and see if it goes through 

Formation

Aston Villa has lined up with a 4-2-3-1 formation in the past and are expected to do the same this season.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is returning with a Copa America gold medal and will be influential for the team this season. John McGinn will continue to work like a machine in Villa’s midfield. But the point of interest this season will be Aston Villa’s attack. Emiliano Buendia’s creativity with El Ghazi and Bailey on the wings and Ollie Watkins/Danny Ings up front will be deadly.

Overall, this Villa side looks like a better team without Jack Grealish. The money from his departure has been used to enhance various areas of the team. It would be fair to include them in the top 8 predictions for next season and if everything goes well, they could maybe even challenge for Europe.

Nevertheless, Aston Villa is going to be one of the most interesting teams to watch next season.

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