Aston Villa have stayed up. How can they build on that success?

29 July 2020 02:02
Villa’s defence kept them in the Premier League. Now they need to invest in players who will score some goalsBy Martin Laurence for WhoScoredYou only have to venture back a few weeks to find the moment when Aston Villa’s place in the Premier League was at its most precarious. When Watford came from behind to beat Newcastle on 11 July, the Hornets moved seven points above Villa. Watford also boasted a significantly better goal difference, so the pressure was real. When Crystal Palace arrived at Villa Park the following day, Dean Smith’s team had to do something they had not managed in 10 league games, spanning 173 days: win a football match. There were just four games to go and Villa had given very little indication that they could bridge the gap – at least to those looking in from the outside. Four matches and eight points later, however, Villa were safe and Watford were preparing for the Championship.Every manager in the game thinks their side deserves more from their performances, but Smith was particularly adamant that Villa’s results were not reflecting the improvements they had made after the restart. Before the lockdown, Villa had been a shambles in defence, allowing opponents 5.64 shots on target per game – the most in the division. The way they turned that statistic around after the restart is nothing short of incredible. Related: Premier League 2019-20 review: our predictions versus reality Continue readingreadfullarticle

Source: TheGuardian