Five Reasons to Be Cheerful as Villa’s Season Enters Final Stretch

Seven months on from the start of the new season, the Villa players find themselves in a position that they would have dreamed about, back in August. Yet over recent weeks the team’s form has faded as has the excellent home record of 2023. Nonetheless, with ten games remaining, the club sits in fourth with a Europa Conference League quarter final in sight. Here are Five Reasons to be Cheerful as Villa supporters:

Giant Slaying

After a sobering hammering against Spurs on Sunday, it was important that Villa didn’t follow it up by crashing out of the Europa Conference League. After a cagey opening sixty minutes, however, Villa managed to put the sword to the Dutch giants. The win sets up another difficult tie against fourth placed Lille, and a win in the quarter finals, would pitch Villa against either Fenerbahce or Olympiacos. Defeating Ajax, Lille, as well as the Greek or Turkish sides, en-route to the final, would certainly give credence to Europe’s third tier tournament as all four sides have featured in the Champions League on many occasions.

Top Four

Fans have been left understandably frustrated by Villa’s yo-yo form since the impressive wins against Manchester City and Arsenal. Nontheless, the impervious form of 2023 has meant that despite the dip in fortunes, Villa sits fourth in the table with ten games to go. An envious position to most and one that Emery’s team must now fight hard to cement.

Welcome Returns

With the final Premier League run-in and a quarter-final against a top European side in sight, Emery’s and the players’ mettle will now be tested. Thankfully, the return of key players will give Villa a better chance at success. Pau Torres and Ezri Konsa have both missed a number of games in 2024, yet their recent return will give Unai’s men the best chance of ending the season positively. Neither can be replaced like-for-like in this team, so the hope is that they can avoid further injuries in the closing two months of the season.

Jhon Durán marked his return with a goal and lively display against Ajax, replacing the hobbling Watkins, whose injury is unlikely to force him out of any matches. Only Jacob Ramsey and Diego Carlos now remain as an absentees, ignoring the long-term casualties. Carlos’ injury is hardly a surprise but the Emery has remained bullish on Ramsey returning sooner rather than later.

All-in-all the squad is in the best shape that it has been since early December, which only boosts the final push for Champions League football and Conference League gold.

Co-Efficient Drama

As side stories go, the co-efficient element to this season is developing into a more and more intriguing one with every passing week. There are no Italian sides left in the Champions League at the quarter-final stage, which sees Arsenal square-off against German co-efficient rivals Bayern Munich. In the Europa League, both remaining English sides face German and Italian opposition, as well as an all-Italian tie between AC Milan and Roma.

If all goes to plan, and the English sides prevail, then the odds of a fifth Champions League spot will increase dramatically. 

Villa are also in the unique position of being to help their own Champions League situation, with their own progress in the Conference League adding to the co-efficient tally for English teams. Hopefully, though, we won’t need that fifth spot in the league.

Ange-l Delight

Despite humbling Villa last weekend, Spurs’ latest defeat to Fulham has once again opened up the race for the top four and five. Seemingly Villa, Spurs and Manchester United are all doing their best to avoid a top four finish with all three sides dropping points in recent weeks. With only ten games remaining, time is running out for the sides chasing Emery’s side. 

Nonetheless, after Villa suffered defeats at the hands of both United and Spurs; Villa’s guardian angels, Fulham, have twice breathed life back into Emery’s side by beating both of their biggest rivals. The rollercoaster can be a hard watch at times, but Villa’s Champions League fate remains in their own hands.


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