Premier League Preview – Aston Villa

Aston VillaLast season: The Claret and Blues found it hard last season as they avoided relegation by just five points, but there was one saving grace – Christian Benteke. The Villans only won 10 out of 38 games, lost an astonishing 17 and had a clean sheet ratio of just 13 per cent.

The Belgium international however managed to score 19 out of 47 goals for Villa and thanks to his fantastic performance the Birmingham based club avoided relegation. The 22-year-old finished the season as fourth higher scorer, just two goals behind Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.

Aston Villa conceded around two goals per match, scored around one, and had only five clean sheets all season and around eight shots per match.

The Villans only managed to beat Sunderland and Reading – who were relegated – and nabbed one victory from Liverpool, Norwich, QPR, Stoke, Swansea and West Ham. Paul Lambert’s team didn’t exactly get the results they wanted but they did at least avoid relegation.

Transfer Ins:

Jores Okore (Nordssjaelland)

Aleksandar Tonev (Lech Poznan)

Antonio Luna (Sevilla)

Nicklas Helenius (Aalborg)

Leandro Bacuna (Groningen)

Jed Steer (Norwich City)

Transfer Outs:

Andy Marshall (Millwall)

Richard Dunne (Queens Park Rangers)

Jean II Makoun (Rennais)

Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest)

Derrick Williams (Bristol City)

Brett Holman (Al-Nasr)

Player to watch: There’s only one Villa player you need to look out for and it’s Christian Benteke. His talent and goal-scoring skills will be much needed at Villa Park throughout the season. He handed in a transfer request at the start of the summer but made a huge U-turn, deciding to stay with the Midlands club until 2017.

The Belgian’s skills match the Premier League’s demands perfectly as he boasts a good first touch, decent link-up play, great awareness, good positioning, a lot of power when it comes to outmuscling defenders and an incredible eye for goal.

Young player to watch: Latest transfer Jores Okore might be able to offer a lot of help at the back even though he is very young (20 years old) he managed to make 65 appearances with Danish club Nordsjaelland. It’ll be a baptism of fire for the starlet but if he raises his game he could be one to watch.

Player needing to improve: If Darren Bent stays with the club, although it is very possible he might be moving to Fulham or Newcastle, he will be one that will have to up his game. A serious ankle injury kept the England international out for a while and slowed him down which was evident last season with a mere three goals for Villa. Next season he will have to pull his finger out and get back to the business of scoring goals and forming a dangerous partnership with Benteke.

Prediction: The team had a tough time of it last season and will need to do more than depend on Benteke again. With summer spending at £10,912,000 they’ve certainly strengthened but will it be enough?

All those singings filled in some gaps so there is a good chance we might see a different Villa this season that should surpass their last campaign. Keep in mind that goalkeeper Shay Given as well as Bent, who cost around £24 million and was a record transfer for the club, are expected to leave the club.

FFC can’t see the team anywhere near the top four spots but do think that the Villans will be able to avoid relegation yet again.

Our prediction: 15th place


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