Aston Villa win the play-off final but are they ready for the task ahead?


Aston Villa emerged victorious after a frantic play-off final win against Derby County to earn themselves the £170 million prize money and a place back in the top-flight of English football.

It was second time lucky for Villa who fell short last year after being beat 1-0 by Fulham with Tom Cairney scoring the only goal in that fixture.

The Claret and Blues end a three-year absence from the Premier League with the win over the Rams, but how difficult will it be for the Villains to survive in the top flight?

Potential transfers

Captain Jack Grealish has had an amazing campaign and has become a true leader after being given the armband by manager Dean Smith back in March. The prized asset of Aston Villa recorded six goals and seven assists this season and has been outstanding this year for Villa. The captain has just signed a new five-year deal so a lot of money will be needed to lure Grealish away from Villa Park.

Another player who has been amazing for Aston Villa is their Player of the Year, John McGinn. The Scottish international signed for Villa from Hibernian in August 2018 for £2.5 million. All season he has been outstanding in the heart of midfield recording seven goals and nine assists and was named Man of the Match after his goal helped Villa beat Derby in the play-off final on Monday.

Loan Players

Tammy Abraham, Axel Tuanzabe, Anwar El Ghazi, Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause will all now return to their parent clubs upon the expiration of their loans.

Villa’s loanees have been essential members of the squad this season with Mings, Abraham, Tuanzabe and El Ghazi being key in the play-off final win.

Abraham has played a vital role in Villa’s play-off push scoring 26 goals in the Championship season, coming runner-up in the Golden Boot race to Norwich striker Teemu Pukki. The Englishman will be highly in demand after such a great campaign for Villa and it will be hard to replace a player of his calibre.

Tyrone Mings will be playing in the Premier League next season, but whether thats with parent club Bournemouth or another suitor remains to be seen. Villa are expected to try their best to sign the defender after an outstanding campaign for them.

The same scenario applies to Tuanzebe. He’s a major force in this side but is highly rated at Manchester United and may be part of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s plans for the Red Devils next season.

Villa have no option to sign any of the three players above and the situation around El Ghazi remains unclear.

Dean Smith does however have the option to bring Hause to Villa Park on a permanent basis from Wolves this summer.

Dean Smith

Boyhood Aston Villa fan and manager Dean Smith promised he was the perfect man to take Villa up and he has now delivered on that statement.

In delivering promotion with a team that was 13th when he took over in October 2018, with one win in nine league games, Smith has displayed his prowess as one of the very best an up and coming English coaches to deliver promotion.

In February, Villa were eight points off the play-offs and had won just once in ten games. From the beginning of March, they won twelve of their last 14 league games, scored 29 goals and secured promotion back to the top-flight due to the attacking football adopted by Smith which has made them such a threat in front of goal.

Whether Villa can avoid a similar fate to Fulham, who they lost to in last seasons play-off final, in being relegated during their first season remains to be seen. The talent of players like Grealish in combination with Smith as manager sets a foundation for Villa to build from, in front of a packed out Villa Park every other week. A club the size of Villa believe they belong in the top-flight of English football and with the right investment, particularly in securing their loanees, the Villains could remain in the Premier League for years to come.



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EFL/EPL and F1 writer. @AdrianKitaMedia on Twitter for any comments regarding my pieces on Prost International.

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