Norwich City, Sheffield United and Aston Villa were all promoted from the Championship last season. We look at how Aston Villa did it, what they will bring to the Premier League and how they can strengthen over the summer.

The 2018-19 story…


It could not have gone much better.


After the Play-Off Final defeat to Fulham 12 months ago, Aston Villa were left with a board who had financially mismanaged the club, a manager who had arguably mismanaged his players to an extent and a team that was solely reliant on Jack Grealish’s individualism.


The takeover though of Nassef Sawiris gave way to fundamental structural changes at the club including a new coach, with Dean Smith implementing a more progressive style of football.


The arrival of John McGinn has made Villa even better; the spritely Scott pressed with relentless tenacity and provided alternative creativity, so that Grealish could dictate games rather than be the one demanded to make something happen every time he received the ball.



Thanks to a run of 12 wins from their final 15 games, including the 2-1 triumph over Derby at Wembley, the Villans are back in the Premier League.


What they’ll bring…




Aston Villa have perhaps more long-term potential than their fellow promotees, partly because of the wealth they have behind them but also their stature as a club.


Although survival is normally the de facto ambition for any freshly-promoted outfit, a certain generation of Villa supporters who saw the European Cup win in 1982, or those who watched them compete for the Champions League under Martin O’Neill in the late noughties will have a more ambitious outlook.



In some ways that’s a strength – this is a club that does not want to settle for mediocrity – but they will very likely lose more games next season and the patience of natives could be tested during the rough patches.


Summer targets…


CEO Christian Purslow has said he has “no intention” of selling Grealish, which is excellent news for Villa; the influential playmaker wants to captain his boyhood club in the Premier League and he seems to have matured with the responsibility of leading by example.


Retaining key loanees is another objective: Chelsea might want to keep Tammy Abraham if the transfer ban remains in place, but Tyrone Mings, Axel Tuanzebe and Kortney Hause have all had a positive impact on the defence since joining on temporary deals.


Villa could do with improving the quality of their full-back and wide options, too; a permanent deal for exciting winger Anwar El Ghazi would be another plus.

Aston Villa Odds:

To be relegated

To stay up

Top half finish

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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