Totally Buzzed is previewing every single Premier League team ahead of the 2021/2022 campaign and now it is the turn of Aston Villa.

How last season went:

Dean Smith’s side had a very positive 2020/21 season as they showed great signs of improvement compared to their performance in the 2019/2020 campaign. The Villans finished 11th in the Premier League after racking up 55 points and were closer to qualifying for Europe than they were to the relegation zone as a result. The club’s latest league campaign also saw Villa record a legendary 7-2 win over the mighty Liverpool in October, which will no doubt live long in the memory of Villa fans and neutrals alike. As for other competitions, Villa crashed out of the EFL Cup in the fourth round courtesy of Championship side Stoke City and were eliminated in the third round of the FA Cup by Liverpool. However, it’s worth noting Smith was forced to field a very young side against the Reds, which saw the likes of teen sensation Louie Barry feature, due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club.

Aston Villa’s Premier League Stats – 2020/21:

*According to the*

Aston Villa Player Stats – 2020/21:

Top Scorer Across All Competitions: Ollie Watkins – 16 goals in 40 appearances (0.42 goals per 90 minutes, 215 minutes per goal)

Top Scorer – Premier League Only: Watkins -14 goals in 37 appearances (238 minutes per goal)

Most Assists Across All Competitions: Jack Grealish – 12 assists in 27 appearances (2.78 chances created per game)

Most Assists – Premier League Only: Grealish – 12 assists in 26 appearances

Most Tackles Per Game (On Average) – Premier League Only: Matthew Cash (2.5 tackles per game)

Most Minutes Played Across Premier League Fixtures – Top 3:

  1. Emiliano Martinez – 3420 minutes 2. Targett – 3405 minutes  3. John McGinn – 3330 minutes

1st five league fixtures:

Watford (A): Villa and Watford last clashed in the Premier League in January 2020, with the Villans recording a 2-1 win over the Hornets at Villa Park. However, the last time the two sides clashed at Vicarage Road, in December 2019, Watford recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Smith’s side, despite having to play roughly 30 minutes of that match with only 10-men on the field.

Newcastle (H): Aston Villa have won their last two league meetings with Newcastle United at Villa Park 2-0, while the Villans also managed to secure a 1-1 draw with the Magpies in the last two league meetings between the sides which have taken place at St James’ Park.

Brentford (H): Villa last clashed with Brentford in the 2018/19 season when in the Championship, and didn’t manage to achieve a victory over the Bees during that campaign. Villa and Brentford recorded a 2-2 draw when facing each other at Villa Park, and the Bees achieved a 1-0 victory over Smith’s team when hosting them at Griffin Park.

Chelsea (A): The Villians ended a six-game losing streak at the hands of Chelsea, dating back to September 2014, last season as they didn’t suffer a defeat at the hands of the London club in the 2020/21 campaign. Villa drew with the Blues 1-1 at Stamford Bridge and managed to beat the London club when hosting them at Villa Park, 2-1.

Everton (H): Villa are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Everton, and even managed to beat the Toffees on their own patch last season. Villa defeated Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park last season, thanks to goals from Watkins and Anwar El-Ghazi, but Smith couldn’t mastermind a victory when the sides met at Villa Park and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.

Aston Villa Fan Perspective: Liam (@AVFC-1874 – Reddit)

Best Player: This one is easy. Jack Grealish. We lost him for 12 games due to injury last season, and we went from a team competing for Europe to form that would barely keep us in the PL if it kept up for a whole season. The space he creates with his brilliant runs frees up so much space for the likes of El Ghazi, Watkins, and Traore. He is simply irreplaceable, and if we’re able to hang onto him for the next few years I’ve no doubt that he’ll go down as a club legend.

Promising youngster: Carney Chukwuemeka. At just 17 years old, he has already been making waves. He was instrumental in our FA Youth Cup win last season and made a couple of appearances in the PL towards the end of the season. On his debut against Spurs, he played around 5 minutes, but still caused all sorts of problems, and hit the post from distance. The likes of Dortmund and Leipzig have reportedly been sniffing around, so it seems likely he’ll be given a real chance in the first team next season. He is an attacking midfielder who is a dangerous dribbler, he is very strong on the ball, and has a great eye for a pass. Think Paul Pogba.

Likely to surprise people: Ashley Young. At 36 years of age, many people are writing him off, as they think that he won’t be up to the job anymore. But with 26 league appearances for Inter last season, he still played an important role in their title-winning season. With his ability to play in many different positions, I think that he may have a more crucial role for Villa next season than many think. He’ll also be the oldest player in our squad by a considerable distance, so his leadership qualities will no doubt be massive for us too.

Thoughts on the manager: Dean Smith has been an absolute revelation since he took over. In his first season in charge, he took us from mid-table into the playoffs with an incredible ten-game winning streak and then took us up. His first season in the PL was difficult, and we barely stayed up, but last season, we improved tremendously and ended up in 11th place, with 55 points, which in any other season would get you into the top half, and in some seasons would even take you into Europe. It has been consistent improvement since he took over, with every season. It’s also great having a fan in the managerial spot, and it feels like he has a special bond with the supporters as a result. 

Weakness: It’s concerning how reliant on Ollie Watkins we are. His incredible energy and relentless pressing has completely revolutionized the way we play the game, but when he’s not on the pitch, the likes of Keinan Davis and Wesley are big men who don’t have any of his energy and don’t offer very much in general. If Watkins were to get injured for a prolonged period next season I think that could end up being an even bigger loss than when Grealish was out. It would be great if we could sign a backup striker this summer, but whether one is available who is willing to play second fiddle to Watkins but is also a competent enough player to fill his shoes remains to be seen.

Dream Transfer: Lionel Messi. I think anyone would be mad to answer differently. Imagine how easily a team with Grealish and Messi playing next to each other would be able to advance the ball!?

Realistic Transfer: Jesse Lingard. We need another attacking midfielder with Ross Barkley’s loan ending, and I think that Lingard would be a perfect fit. West Ham improved immeasurably with him in the team last year, and I’ve no doubt he’d be a great success playing with the likes of Grealish and Buendia. I’m not sure we’d be able to convince him to go if West Ham come calling, as they’ll be playing in Europe next season and he knows the club, but if they can’t afford him then we may be able to sway him to Villa Park.

Player I fear leaving: Jack Grealish. Man City seem very interested, and there are rumours of a release clause in his contract, which if true means there’s little we can do to stop a deal if he wants out. He is our captain and hands down our best player, so I fear if we lose him we won’t be able to push on and improve next season.

League expectation: 7th. We finished 7 points off the top 7 and the Europa League spots last year. Had Grealish not been injured for 12 games we may well have gotten over the line there, so I think that has to be the target next season.

League prediction: 9th. Whilst European football has to be the target, I don’t think it’s a disaster if we don’t get that, and I think it’s easier said than done. If we compete for the European spots to the very end and fall just shy, I think that will have been a successful season.

Biggest Rival This Season/Love It If We Beat them: Man United. They seem to get the decisions every time we play them. The last time they beat us in the league without getting a penalty, Remi Garde had just lost his job. It’s been an awfully long time since we’ve beaten them, and so a victory would be huge.