It's been an interesting time in the football world from promotion play-offs, preseason preparations and the summer transfer window that closed on Thursday, August 8 for the English Premier League.
As the 2019/20 Premier League kicks off, we also see the return of Aston Villa and Norwich City to topflight after a long hiatus - and it's a warm welcome to Sheffield United who gained automatic promotion for the first time in twelve years.
Villa did not have an easy ride coming into topflight with many changes that happened prior to their coveted title win. Steve Bruce (now Newcastle United) manager had been at the helm of Villa but to his detriment, he was shown the door after he won a mere three games of the 11 he was in charge of in October 2018. Former Brentford manager Dean Smith was to be the new manager and that's when they started to experience positive light. To keep it short and sweet, they won ten of their games in a row to finish fifth on the Championship table and they won the playoffs after defeating Derby County on May 27, 2019.
Futaa takes a look at Aston Villa as they look to find their groove back in the Premier League - will they manage to face the stiff competition and hold their own or will they see themselves relegated again and back to the Championship?
• CHALLENGES: 🥊 🥋 ⚔️
Dean Smith has been very active in the transfer market having acquired some impressive names but the question is - will this count in their favour as they challenge for honours this season or will they choke and suffer the fate that Fulham sees themselves in now.
The twelve signings they made this summer are Zimbabwean international Marvelous Nkamba (Club Brugge), Tom Heaton who was Burnley's first-choice goalkeeper, Egypt international Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' Hassan who had an outstanding 2019 Africa Cup of Nations despite his side who were the hosts suffered an early exit; Wesley Moraes (Club Brugge), Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth), Douglas Luiz (Manchester City), Matt Targett (Southampton), Ezi Konsa (Brentford), Anwar El Ghazi, Bjorn Engels (Reims), Jota (Birmingham City) and Kortney Hause (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
With these players acquired together with the household names they already have at their disposal - the difficulty they might face is that they may struggle with the defence which playing in the Premier League - teams need to avoid conceding goals and having a leaking defence. This was Villa's weakness during their campaign last season and if they haven't polished this during the preseason - they may see themselves being served continuous defeats. Another factor to remember is that they have lost their top goalscorer Tammy Abraham who returned to his parent club, Chelsea and he had one outstanding loan spell. Rumour has it that new signing, Jota maybe his replacement but there are big shoes to fill without a doubt.
The Villans will also have to get used to fast-paced football which is a lot more different to what they were used to in the Championship although the latter is highly competitive and tough to stay composed in.
• STRENGTHS: 💪🏾 🏋️♀️ 🏆
Despite some few weaknesses, Villa definitely have plentiful strengths that can go in their favour as they face tough oppositions in the Premier League.
One factor we can look at is their key man, Jack Grealish who was massively involved in their return to topflight last season - despite being dealt with a massive injury blow, he was able to bounce back and be the difference to his team.
Grealish scored six goals and involved himself in seven assists for his boyhood club - he is also tipped to be the player that will be productive once again for his side due to his dribbling ability, vision and timing when danger approaches in the middle from the opposition.
Villa also boasts players like Anwar El Ghazi who had a successful loan spell with the side, John McGinn and Hourihane - the latter of the two reportedly had an impressive preseason.
A wealth of youthful experience will also go a long way for the Villa Park outfit as there is plentiful energy flowing through the team and the fact that they also play with passion and as a unit - there is no room for star players even if some few may stand out a little more than others.
• What to expect in the 2019/20 season back in the Premier League? ⚽️ 🔥 🥅
It will be a very interesting season for Dean Smith and his side. Of course, there will be a breath of fresh air and some teams at the top may be wary of them together with Norwich City and Sheffield United. These three teams may give the usuals a run for their money.
There are some exciting players to look out for not forgetting the new signings but it will be interesting to see Anwar El Ghazi step up to the plate again with his flair, Jack Grealish to not allow the hype to overwhelm him, and John McGinn to name a few.
Let the games begin!!!
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