Edition 2 of Team in the Spotlight features Aston Villa, lets have a look at how they stand for the current season;

Founded: 1874

Nickname: The Villians

Stadium: Villa Park

Capacity: 42.788

Manager: Paul Lambert

Kit:

 

Domestic

League titles

First Division champions

1893–94, 1895–96, 1896–97, 1898–99, 1899–1900, 1909–10, 1980–81

Second Division champions

1937–38, 1959–60

Third Division champions

1971–72

FA Cup

1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920, 1957

League Cup

1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996

FA Charity Shield/FA Community Shield

1981 (shared)

Football League War Cup

1944 (shared)

 

European

European Cup

1981–82

 

European Super Cup

1982

 

Intertoto Cup

2001

Current Squad

1  GK Brad Guzan

2  DF Nathan Baker

3  DF Joe Bennett

4  DF Ron Vlaar (Captain)

5  DF Jores Okore

6  DF Ciaran Clark

7  MF Leandro Bacuna

8  MF Karim El Ahmadi

9  FW Nicklas Helenius

10  FW Andreas Weimann

11  FW Gabriel Agbonlahor

12  MF Marc Albrighton

13  GK Jed Steer

14  DF Antonio Luna

15  MF Ashley Westwood

16  MF Fabian Delph

17  MF Chris Herd

18  MF Yacouba Sylla

20  FW Christian Benteke

21  FW Jordan Bowery

22  MF Gary Gardner

24  MF Aleksandar Tonev

27  FW Libor Kozák

34  DF Matthew Lowton

35  GK Shay Given

36  MF Charles N'Zogbia

41  DF Alan Hutton

 

Star Player: Christian Benteke

Villa’s best bit of business this summer was the re-sigining of Benteke to a new contract. After an excellent debut season the powerful Belgian racked up 23 goals, 19 of them in the Premier League and all for a fee of around the £7m mark. His value easily doubled and perhaps tripled and looked certain to leave for a club competing in Europe this season even handing in a transfer request. Paul Lambert moved fast to settle his star player and managed to secure a new deal to the delight of Villa fans. Other areas of the team were strengthened very early over the summer in the hope of rectifying what was a very poor season by Aston Villa’s standards last time round.

Goalkeeper

Brad Guzan has stepped out from his understudy role of previous years over the last season. Guzan had been released in the summer of 2012 only to be re-signed by Villa just in time for the new season and it proved to be a great bit of business by Paul Lambert. The big American pushed the more experienced and established Shay Given out of the team and cemented his place with some fine displays earning himself Villa’s player of the year. At only 29 Guzan is now just reaching the peak of his goalkeeping career and should save Villa a fair few points over the next few years.

Defence

Villa have adopted a strong youth policy in the last year, most of the defence is made up of young players who have good potential but have yet to truly prove themselves at the highest level. In Ciaran Clark, Matthew Lowton, Nathan Baker and Joe Bennett youth is prominent. With a full season under their belts hopefully the experience they gained will help them develop a better understanding. Lowton looks an excellent prospect and scored a wonder goal last season that any striker in the world would have been proud of.

Midfield

The centre of the park looked vulnerable last season and was the biggest cause of worry for Villa fans. El Ahmady looked promising in the opening part of the season last year with a good touch, decent tackle and topped off a decent opening month with a spectacular strike against Everton on the wrong end of a 3-1 result. He dropped off mid season through injury and form. Fabian Delph joined Villa from Leeds in 2009 with a high level of expectation to develop into a classy midfielder but for one reason or another the potential was never fully realised. This was somewhat rectified last season as he finally seemed to be making the progress that was expected of him having a solid second half to the season and has started brightly this term too.

Attack

Now this is where Villa look good. With a front three of Andreas Weimann, Chritian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor Villa has a potent three man attack that can cause opposition defences all kinds of troubles. Agbonlahor has great pace and has the ability to finish well but on occasion can be a little wasteful. Wiemann is an excellent finisher and with more and more experience could develop into an excellent forward. His movement is excellent and he has an excellent understanding with Villa’s key man, Christian Benteke. He was a revelation last season, power, pace, movement, heading and finishing worthy of any top team across Europe. With an attack as good as these three are Villa could be looking at a decent top half finish.

If the defence and midfield can improve on last season and provide a solid base for the three man attack and those players stay fit Villa could have a decent season ahead of them. In the opening game with Arsenal Villa looked strong and composed, the next game they were unlucky to lose to Chelsea and finished a difficult start to the season with a defeat to Liverpool. In all three games they looked decent and should be well clear of last seasons relegation battle.

 

Predicted Finish: 9th

 

Thank you for reading and apolgies for missing the Tuesday deadline.

 

Up next: Cardiff City, how do the new boys to the League fair?

 

Until next time……….

 

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