The founding member of Premier League and former European champions, Aston Villa have returned into the 1st division of English football after fighting their way through the promotion battle, where they took down West Brom and Derby Country to secure the 3rd and last spot in the Premier League for 2019/20 season.
Long are the glory days of Aston Villa, who stood proudly at the top of Europe in 1982, when they won the European Cup or what is now known the UEFA Champions League. To add to the list of their past achievements, the Lions also won 7 EPL titles, 7 FA Cups and 5 League cups. While they hold on to an impressive number of achievements, Aston Villa are not that team anymore, not since 1995, when they won their last League Cup and last silverware to date. Falling on hard ground, Aston Villa slowly but surely spiralled down the leaderboard, until they found themselves in the 2nd tier of English football in 2015/16 season, when they got relegated to Championship league. That year also ended an era for Aston Villa as one of the only teams that have never faced relegation ever since the Premier League started. In the years that followed, Aston Villa struggled to find a way back into the Premier League. While their 13th place finish in Championship in 2017 was not too promising, Aston Villa managed to finish 4th in 2018 and managed the last push in 2019 when they finished 5th, but got through the playoffs to secure the 3rd and last spot left in the EPL for 2019/20 season.
Every time when a club gets promoted to play at the highest level of football, we can’t help but wonder if that club has enough quality to survive the next season and avoid relegation back to the 2nd division. In our case, we have asked ourselves the same question with Aston Villa, can they survive the unforgiving Premier League in 2019/20 season and what can they do to improve their chances.
To start on a positive note, we must mention what worked for Aston Villa this season, which was their stability. They played well throughout the season, which holds true on every level. Since the arrival of Dean Smith, Aston Villa have improved drastically. Looking at how they play, it seems like every player knows what he needs to do and what his job on the field is. They might not be the flashiest teams out there, but neither are they very boring to watch. They are somewhere in between, which clearly shows stability, that got them to where they are now. However, that simply won’t be enough to keep themselves afloat in the Premier League. Getting to the Premier League and surviving in it are two completely different things, which is something Aston Villa players are expected to see and experience in a few months’ time. Then there are also raw statistics that work against Aston Villa and their chances to survive. Looking back at the last 5 seasons and the teams that got themselves into the Premier League via playoffs, there has been only one (Huddersfield in 2017/18) that managed to survive and avoid relegation the very next season.
But will they fall into the category of teams who failed to avoid relegation or does Aston Villa have a legitimate chance to survive and remain in EPL for 2020/21 season?
One thing Aston Villa needs to avoid relegation next season is without a doubt bring in some experienced players who have played in the Premier League before. While they should not take the same approach Fulham took when they completely reassembled their team, a more lenient approach should be used here. Instead of signing a new team completely, Villa should bring in a few players who are not only experienced, but are also better players overall. In other words, what Aston Villa needs is proven quality. As it seems now, Aston Villa are doing just that, as they have already signed 4 players (Wesley, Anwar ElGhazi, Kortney Hause and Jota) with more names such as Adam Webster being mentioned in news as a possible transfer target for Villa.
So, can Aston Villa survive the 2019/20 season of Premier league? While any answer we give now would be more or less just a guess, we can confidently say that Aston Villa are doing all the right things to get themselves ready for their return to Premier League after 3 long years.