Five Reasons To Be Cheerful as Villans in the Champions League

The past eighteen months have been joyous by comparison to the fifteen years that preceded them. Nonetheless, the stresses of actually having something to lose has been a hard watch at times. Due to a combination of factors, Aston Villa’s fine form from 2023 dipped in 2024, causing a slightly nervy finale. However, the team persevered and secured the all-important fourth spot and Unai Emery signed a new five-year contract. Here are Five [more] Reasons to Be Cheerful at the end of a positive campaign…

And… Relax

While the end of the Premier League campaign is normally the beginning of a dull period of time without any football to watch. On this occasion, the break is much needed. Aston Villa have endured the most riveting and exhausting period since the promotion season under Dean Smith. The European Championship will provide the usual distraction from the lack of club football but this year Villa fans can enjoy the competition even more knowing that Champions League football is just round the corner. For now, enjoy a break from the stresses of last season.

The Big Leagues

Having had a taste of European football this season, fans can look forward to hosting and visiting some of the biggest clubs in the world. Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, have always involved watching other sides participating in the juiciest Champions League ties, but finally Villa fans can experience their team lining up to the famous music.

Some members of the squad have experienced Champions League football previously, and in fact, would have signed for Villa with the promise of those nights returning to Birmingham. But for the likes of John McGinn, Tyrone Mings, Emi Martinez, and Ollie Watkins, they have grown in their roles and reputations over the years and deserve their shot at Europe’s elite competition.

Regarding the transfer market, Unai Emery’s pull is a strong base to begin with, but by adding Champions League football into the mix, the world is very much Aston Villa’s oyster. Yes, as with every team, the club must navigate through the FFP minefield, but Villa are in a strong position to add real quality to the squad.

Blue Noses

While Villa had their best season since the Brian Little era, their local rivals have had a slightly less successful year. After sacking John Eustace for a more glamorous approach to football ownership, Birmingham were relegated to England’s third tier while Eustace secured safety for his new club Blackburn. let’s not even get onto ‘The Fall and Roast of Tom Brady’. They are the gift that keeps on giving.

Squad Game

We have seen in two previous windows that while Unai Emery is a gentleman, he is also ruthless when it comes to shaping his squad. Players deemed surplus to requirements or unable to delivery consistently in his system will be shipped out. Although Villa had an excellent season and most players played a role, there are positions that need an upgrade. Villa’s squad was tested heavily this season with a number of injuries and overall the depth held up until the final weeks. Yet Emery will, no doubt, relish the chance to improve on the first XI positions as well as expanding the squad to cope with a new look Champions League format that will require superior squad options.

Batten Down the Hatches

Despite all the deserved positivity, it has to be noted that Villa began and ended the season by conceding five goals. With sixty-one goals conceded across 38 league games, it falls shy of the top three teams that Villa must now try to hunt down. The good thing is that Villa have a tactician in charge that does know how to organise a solid defence. He will identify the root cause of the leaky defensive displays and have a plan to resolve it. Whether that is relying on a fully fit Mings to play at the heart of the defence, or to ensure that there is a more competent defensive midfielder to cover for the frequently injured Boubacar Kamara, Emery knows that the next level cannot be reached with some of the defensive displays from the past six months and he is certainly scheming on how to resolve them.


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