Friday, 6 August 2010

Premier League Preview - Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Aston Villa had a very good season last year competing for a top four spot, but ultimately ended up missing out, finishing in an impressive 6th place. This time round, manager Martin O’Neill aims to build on the success of last year and compete with the newly strengthened clubs in order to establish their quest for European football.

Aston Villa reached the Semi final of the FA Cup last season, losing to eventual winners Chelsea, while also reaching the Carling Cup final and
finding themselves unlucky losing to Manchester United 2-1 at Wembley.

The midlands club have a very well balanced and attacking side, with the likes of James Milner, Ashley Young, Stilyian Petrov and Stewart Downing particularly impressing last year and expecting to progress this season, with another strong cup run a possibility.

Key Player: Ashley Young

The 25 year old former Watford striker has been superb for Villa since joining 3 years ago, and is on the verge of becoming a regular within the England squad. He has over 120 appearances under his belt, with 23 goals and countless assists to add. Despite queries from Tottenham, Young pledged his immediate future to Aston Villa, and continue their pursuit of trophies.

Manager: Martin O’Neill

Key Signing: James Milner

Resigning James Milner, if not signing any other recruits, is of the upmost importance. Milner staying with Villa will not only be good for Martin O’Neill’s men, but good for football. With Manchester City attempting to sign every player under the sun, Milner will settle for a part time role in the squad rather than the first name on the team sheet.

Aims: Europa League qualification and a strong cup run

Prediction: 8th

Despite a 6th place finish last season, the considerable investment in both Everton and Man City, as well as the return to stability for Liverpool and the talented Tottenham side, I would put Villa beneath all these teams, unless a class forward is brought in. Martin O’Neill will motivate his Villa side for the big games, but they may struggle to beat the best opposition. A successful run in all the competition is definitely Villa’s best bet.

First Five Fixtures: West Ham (H), Newcastle (A), Everton (H), Stoke (A, Bolton (H)

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