Aston Villa drew 0-0 with Burnley yesterday, a result that leaves them in 11th place. However, Villa have two games in hand over most Premier League opposition.
Winning both of these games would leave Aston Villa in second place with 25 points, just three points behind league leaders Liverpool.
Aston Villa are having a great season and this shows how good a job manager Dean Smith has done.
The boyhood Villa fan left Brentford to take over from the sacked Steve Bruce in October 2018. He managed to earn Aston Villa promotion back to the Premier League during his first season at the club, beating Derby County 2-1 at Wembley.
In their first season back in the Premier League, Aston Villa looked doomed to relegation. Two wins and two losses in their final four games kept them up. The same season saw Villa reach the League Cup final, losing 2-1 to Manchester City.
Earning Premier League survival on the final date had many predicting Aston Villa would struggle this season. It has been quite the opposite.
We are still early on in the season and whilst they are only ten points off the relegation zone, Aston Villa have earned some big results that make them a strong enough candidate to be nowhere near the relegation dogfight.
Aston Villa shocked the footballing world when they beat the reigning champions Liverpool 7-2 at Villa Park. Villa earned 1-0 away win against Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. They also beat Arsenal 3-0 away at the Emirates.
This can easily be put down to a lack of home advantage with empty stadiums, Aston Villa have proved they are not afraid to play against anyone away from home.
The Talent Of Jack Grealish
In Jack Grealish, Aston Villa have one of England’s most exciting players, with 6 goals and 6 assists in 12 appearances in all competitions. He is finally getting his chance at international level too, making his senior debut in September as a substitute during England’s 0-0 draw with Denmark.
In the aforementioned 3-0 win away at Arsenal, Grealish was excellent and he has been all season.
Grealish, 25, can dribble past any opposition player and does so with ease. The local lad is always being touted with moves away but if Villa have Grealish for the majority of his footballing career, then they will go as far as he can take them.
Impressive Transfer Business
Last summer, Aston Villa spent £22 on Brazilian striker Wesley, which was then a club-record fee. He had some success, scoring 6 goals in 22 goals before his season-ending ACL injury.
Aston Villa needed to buy a replacement.
Genk striker Mbwana Samatta was brought in for £8.5 million in January and had a good start, scoring in the previously mentioned League Cup final defeat to Man City. However, he couldn’t keep this going, with just one Premier League goal in 14 appearances last season.
This caused Villa to go out and break the record set by Wesley, with Brentford striker Ollie Watkins being reunited with former manager Dean Smith in a £28 million deal.
Watkins has hit the ground running, becoming an instant hit. He has scored 6 Premier League goals this season and has scored 8 goals in 14 appearances in all competitions.
He scored in both the Liverpool and Arsenal wins, which shows he is capable of scoring against the big teams.
Right-back Matty Cash joined from Nottingham Forest for £14 million and has been an ever-present. Emiliano Martínez arrived from Arsenal for £17 million and has provided some stability to the goalkeeper position.
Loan signing Ross Barkley has shown why Chelsea bought him, impressing during his time in the Midlands so far.
In terms of players already at the club before this season, centre back Tyrone Mings continues to show why he is an England international.
Scottish midfielder John McGinn is a fan favourite and has recently signed a new contract that keeps him at the club until 2025. On the pitch, he has been a key figure in the Aston Villa midfield.
How Far Can Aston Villa Go This Season?
That is the ultimate question. Whilst their games in hand can put them in the top four, it remains unlikely that they will be there come the final day of the season in May.
Whilst the fans can dream, they should remain realistic and a place in the Europa League can be considered a target that can be achieved in what so far has been a wide-open Premier League season.