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Will Aston Villa be the Championship ‘ones to watch’ next season?

The Boot Room

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The 2016/17 campaign has been an underwhelming one at Villa Park on the whole, with Aston Villa one of the favourites for promotion prior the start of the season back in August. 

The Midlands outfit moved quickly to bring in players in the summer, with the only surprise being how long it took the relegated side to get going. Villa suffered a dismal start to the season under Roberto Di Matteo, which saw them win just once in twelve Championship games. Steve Bruce was brought in by Tony Xia in October, the man who led Hull City to promotion last season, and he has certainly made an impact. 

Bruce had a good start to life at Villa Park, losing just twice in thirteen games. It looked as though The Villains had turned a corner. It is hard to put a finger on what went wrong from the start of January, but the results were all too familiar for the Villa faithful, a run which saw Bruce’s men pick up just one point in eight games. 

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It is certainly not a season to dwell on for Aston Villa. They have ended the season strongly, winning seven of the last nine games, and losing only once to high-flying Huddersfield

Without a doubt, the Midlands outfit have the highest pedigree of footballing talent in the league at their disposal, and having a full pre-season will only serve them well. Other clubs coming down from The Premier League will be in the same boat Villa were in this season. 

Clubs such as Sunderland, whose fate looks settled now, will have to get used to the demands, intensity and relentlessness of the Championship. This will almost give Villa a head start. They know what to expect this time around. There will be an added expectation amongst the crowd, and Steve Bruce will have to get his players mentally prepared for a tough season, where they will be expected to be challenging the top six, for sure. 

Every cloud has a silver lining, however, and Jonathan Kodjia has been an inspired signing. The forward has 19 goals to his name this campaign. He has everything you want from a striker at this level. Pace, power, composure – he has it all in abundance. Meanwhile, the midfield issue in the camp was addressed in January, with Henri Lansbury and Conor Hourihane brought in by Bruce. Next season these two will be instrumental in how Villa’s season pans out. On their day they are both match winners. 

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The noticeable thing about Bruce’s acquisitions in January, bar Birkir Bjarnason, is that he went for proven Championship quality, as opposed to opting for Premier League players – which the club surely could have afforded. Although Scott Hogan has yet to really set the turf alight in claret and blue colours, Championship viewers witnessed what the striker can do in a Brentford shirt, and if he can hit that form again it will only spell danger for the division’s defences. 

On paper, Villa Park should be a place teams fear to go and play football (it’s little surprise that FootballPredictions.com are anticipating a 1-0 victory over fierce rivals Birmingham, at home, this weekend), but this season that hasn’t really been the case, with teams going there and winning points on numerous occasions. It is a huge stadium, one that Steve Bruce should be wanting to make a fortress. Look at Brighton and Newcastle this season. Teams have rarely gone there and come away with anything – that has been the foundation for what will surely mean promotion for the two sides. 

Aston Villa, without a doubt, is a club that belongs in the top flight. With a group of players who, unquestionably, have the ability to challenge the top two, and a manager who knows all about promotion to the Premier League steering the ship, next season at Villa Park will be one to keep an eye on, for sure.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa fans react as Mile Jedinak shows the character needed next season

Aston Villa’s midfielder slotted home a pressure penalty v Denmark.

Mathew Nash

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Australia picked up a well-earned draw against Denmark in the World Cup earlier today, even if it did come with some controversy. Christian Eriksen smashed the Danes into the lead but, after a VAR review, Yussuf Poulsen was judged to have handled the ball from a corner. It gave Australia a penalty and Aston Villa midfielder Mile Jedinak stepped up to the plate.

He scored against France in their opening fixture and, despite the best efforts of Leicester City stopper Kasper Schmeichel to get in his head, he coolly slotted home.

It was a pressure penalty, but Aston Villa’s midfielder showed no signs of missing. He played well throughout the game, acting as the calming influence in the heart of Australia’s midfield.

(Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

The Australian has had to work hard to win over the fans at Villa Park since his arrival. Many felt they were getting a player in decline and he put in some laborious performances during the early stages of his Villa career.

However, next season he could prove vital. With Villa struggling financially some big players will be on their way out and characters will be needed to take Aston Villa up the Championship table.

Just as Iceland’s Birkir Bjarnason showed against Argentina in Russia, Aston Villa have a player in Jedinak who is clearly up for the fight.

Fans of Aston Villa were very happy to see the bearded midfielder score his second goal of the tournament. Many joked about his valuation, golden boot chances and whether he is in fact the GOAT, not Cristiano Ronaldo.

But in terms of his character, this performance highlighted exactly why Jedinak can be key for Aston Villa next season…

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Could £5m forgotten man Aaron Tshibola play a role in Aston Villa rebuild?

The midfielder has struggled since joining Aston Villa two years ago.

Mathew Nash

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It looks like being a tough summer at Aston Villa. After failing to win promotion to the Premier League the club are now believed to be in serious financial peril after over-spending from chairman Tony Xia. It is therefore likely that Aston Villa will need to move a number of players on this summer. Whilst it is bad news for the club, it is also a chance some of the fringe players at Aston Villa must take. One such player is Aaron Tshibola.

Signed in the summer of 2016 from Reading the DR Congo international cost a figure in the region of £5 million – according to the Reading Post.

It was an investment for the future which, so far, has not paid off.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old was a favourite of Roberto Di Matteo’s but was soon dropped after Steve Bruce’s arrival. Subsequent loan spells at Nottingham Forest and MK Dons came with mixed success.

But he spent the second part of last season on loan in Scotland with Kilmarnock. Working under his former Reading boss and Aston Villa assistant Steve Clarke he had a strong start before fading out slightly before the end of his deal.

Aston Villa should, however, give him a chance next season if he sticks around. The club could find themselves short in midfield if several top players make a move and Tshibola is a player who once looked a future Championship star.

In a summer where Villa cannot make many signings, the DR Congo star could be like a £5 million newbie.

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Aston Villa could reportedly owe John Terry £560,000 in wages

The owner may have to sell shares in the club.

Jamie Watts

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Aston Villa’s financial mess looks likely to continue, as the cash-strapped club could now owe captain John Terry a whopping £560,000 in wages, unless he transfers to a different club this summer, according to reports from the Times.

Villa are said to have reached an agreement with HMRC to postpone a payment of £4 million last week, but a further payment is expected this week and the club owner Tony Xia may have to go as far as to sell shares in the club to ensure all debts are paid.

The ex-Chelsea legend announced his impending departure from the midlands club last month, after they failed to secure Premier League promotion in the play-offs and his current contract is due to expire at the end of the month. But he is said to be entitled to a further month’s pay.

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His weekly-wage packet was said to be worth £70,000 at Villa Park, meaning the overdue payments from the last two-months add up to over half-a-million for the 37-year-old defender. However, the outstanding July payment will only stand if Terry retires or remains a free-agent, meaning Villa will be keen to land him a new club.

Villa reportedly need £40 million in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations (Birmingham Mail), after gambling that they would gain promotion to the Premier League this season.

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