Premier League 2022/23 Preview: Aston Villa

Reuters

Predicted Finish: 12th

Aston Villa begin the 2022/23 campaign with renewed optimism following an eventual 14th placed finish last season.

After a positive start to life at Villa Park for Steven Gerrard upon taking over from Dean Smith in November (back-to-back wins over Brighton and Crystal Palace), a top 10 finish looked like a real possibility despite a sluggish start to the season. 

However, the Liverpool legend faced his first period of real adversity in mid-March as the Villains suffered four consecutive defeats to West Ham, Arsenal, Wolves and Tottenham.

The Midlands club bounced back to alleviate any real relegation fears in what can only be seen as an adjustment season following the departure of talisman and fans' favourite Jack Grealish.

In preparation for the new campaign, Villa have brought in a number of new faces in an effort to spearhead a top half finish in the Premier League.

The most high-profile additions have arrived from La Liga, as Villa exercised their buy option for Barcelona outcast Philippe Coutinho and recruited the services of center-back Diego Carlos from Sevilla.

Last season’s loan move for Robin Olsen from Roma has been permanent, providing genuine competition for Emi Martinez from Sweden’s number one.

While Villa were firmly rooted in the bottom half of the table come the end of the season, CEO Christian Purslow has indicated, “Qualifying for European football is very much part of our strategic plan,” though it remains to be seen just how much progress the club can make towards that goal.

After sampling silverware in Scotland with Rangers, Steven Gerrard’s appetite for success will only have grown as he approaches the five-year landmark in management.

The Liverpool legend will undoubtedly harbour hopes of one day managing his boyhood club (discounting that famous photo in an Everton shirt) and will be gaining invaluable Premier League experience along the way. 

Is European football a realistic ambition for Aston Villa...? Only time will tell. 

One to watch: Jacob Ramsey 

A product of the Aston Villa youth academy, Ramsey joined the Villains at the age of 6 and has worked his way through the ranks to make a real impact in the first team.

During his younger years, the midfielder was often one of the smaller players in his age group and supplemented his football training alongside boxing with his father, Mark Ramsey, an ex-professional who fought Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton on two occasions.

After scooping the 2018/19 Academy Player of the Season award, Ramsey was loaned out to League One side Doncaster Rovers. The energetic midfielder played a starring role in his debut for the club, scoring twice in a 3-0 away victory over Tranmere Rovers.

After making seven appearances for Doncaster, the 2019/20 season was brought to a halt due to the Coronavirus pandemic and his loan subsequently cut short.

Upon his return to Aston Villa, Ramsey has been a shining light, even during spells where the team have been performing below-par. With the addition of Boubacar Kamara from Marseille, Ramsey may be allowed more freedom to dictate the attacks and will be looking to build on his six Premier League goals so far.

 

First five fixtures: Bournemouth, Everton, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Arsenal

Transfers in:

Philippe Coutinho (£17m, Barcelona)
Boubacar Kamara (free, Marseille)
Diego Carlos (£26m, Sevilla)
Robin Olsen (£3m, Roma)
Ludwig Augustinsson (loan, Sevilla)

Transfers Out:

Matt Targett (£15m, Newcastle United)
Conor Hourihane (free, Derby County)
Indiana Vassilev (loan, Inter Miami)
Finley Thorndike (free, Birmingham City)
Lovre Kalinic (free, Hajduk Split)
Trezeguet (£3.6m, Trabzonspor)
Finn Azaz (loan, Plymouth Argyle)
Louie Barry (loan, MK Dons)
Wesley (loan, Levante)

Aston Villa total spent to date: £46m
Aston Villa total received to date: £18.6m

Aston Villa net transfer balance: -£27.4m

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