Aston Villa 2019-20 season preview

Established: 1874
Stadium: Villa Park
Location: Birmingham (west Midlands of England)
Head Coach: Dean Smith
Nickname: The Villans, Villa
Rival(s): Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion
Top-Division Titles: 7 (1893-94, 1895-96, 1896-97, 1898-99, 1899-1900, 1909-10, 1980-81)

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Best possible XI:

Heaton
Guilbert
Konsa
Mings
Targett
Luiz
McGinn
Grealish
El Ghazi
Wesley
Trezeguet

Key arrivals: Tom Heaton (Burnley), Jota (Birmingham City), Anwar El Ghazi (Lille), Wesley, Marvelous Nakamba (both Club Brugge), Douglas Luiz (Man City), Trezeguet (Kasimpasa), Bjorn Engels (Stade de Reims), Kortney Hause (Wolves), Matt Targett (Southampton), Ezri Konsa (Brentford), Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth)

Key departures: Ross McCormack (Released), Micah Richards (Retired), Glenn Whelan (Released), Richie de Laet (Free, Royal Antwerp), Tommy Elphick (Free, Huddersfield Town)

Ranking their offseason: This has been one of the biggest squad overhauls in PL history and it was much needed for Villa. Dean Smith lost plenty of players at the end of last season and couldn’t get others such as Axel Tuanzebe and Tammy Abraham back from their loans. Signing 12 new players for combined transfer fees of over $160 million is a big risk and only time will tell if this is going to Fulham-esque. Wesley looks a handful up top, while Guilbert looks handy at right back and both Mings and Heaton will add plenty of experience in defense. Some free-flowing displays in preseason suggest all of the new signings are settling quickly. 6/10

Star player: Jack Grealish is the local lad, the captain and their star player. The English playmaker almost joined Spurs on multiple occasions while Villa sat out of the PL but he’s now led them back to the top-flight and Grealish is set to become a star. His incredible ability on the ball is coupled with a drive to win, and that sometimes see his passion boil over. That said, he has matured and alongside Smith, Villa’s fans have two of their own leading the team both on and off the pitch.

Coaches’ Corner: Smith is a lifelong Villa fan and after arriving midseason last year, he got them going and they sealed promotion in style at Wembley. The former Walsall and Brentford boss loves to play attacking soccer and that ensures Villa will intriguing to watch this season. They will go for it. Given the huge number of new signings Smith knows that it will take a little time for things to settle down, but having John Terry as his assistant will help gel things together rather quickly.

PST predicts: Villa have made so many changes to their squad that it is very hard to predict which way this will go. That said, it seems like they should be tucked just above the relegation zone if things go as planned. There is also the potential that this new–look, young squad will have the element of surprise for the first half of the season and that could build the platform for a top 10 finish. They look the strongest out of all the newly-promoted teams.

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