Whilst writing this, Villa are the highest spenders in the summer transfer market. Are we likely to see another Fulham? I don’t think so.
Aston Villa have been promoted back to the premier league through the championship play-offs after a 3-year absence from the top tier. However, Villa’s season wasn’t at all looking like a potential promotion for the west midlands team. Villa endured a tumultuous middle part of their season seeing them flutter around mid-table until gameweek 35 in which Villa and their newly appointed boss Dean Smith recorded an unfathomable 10 game winning streak.
The championship is often regarded as one of (if not) the most competitive leagues in the world making Villa’s accomplishment all the more impressive. This string of victories sky-rocketed Villa into 5th to which they eventually finished the season. Clearly the form side, Villa scraped through the semi’s on penalties against rivals WBA albeit being the much better team over two legs and went on to beat Derby in the final 2-1.
Villa have played 4 pre-season games so far against Walsall, Shrewsbury, Minnesota and Charlton respectively. They’ve scored 13 goals and have only conceded 2 and have won all 4 games comfortably. They play a further game against RB Leipzig before they start their premier campaign. What’s more noticeable form their pre-season is that Villa made their key signings early and have been able to implement these players for the majority of their pre-season promoting the likeliness of a more cohesive squad to start their campaign. Wesley was left out of the final game vs Charlton, but Dean Smith confirmed it was a small knock and he would be back in training almost immediately.
Star Man – Wesley Moraes (£6.0m)
Wesley cost Villa £22.5 million from Belgian outfit Club Brugge. Wesley has had no Premier League experience whatsoever therefore making it very rare for me to choose him has star man. However, Wesley boasts Champions league as well as Europa League experience. Adding to this, Wesley scored 10 goals and provided 9 assists playing in the Jupiler League last campaign which calculates to 123 FPL points excluding bonus. Now, I cannot possibly compare the leagues in quality, but Wesley only played 28 games last season making his tally all the more impressive. Oh, and he is on penalties and with the introduction of VAR, we know how vital penalty kick takers will be this season.
Hidden Gem – Frédéric Guilbert (£4.5m)
There are potential hidden gems across the whole Villa squad. Every single defender is priced at £4.5m giving all starting defenders good value for your money. Right-back Frédéric Guilbert signed for Aston Villa in January but was immediately loaned back to his former club Caens in Ligue 1 until the end of the season. Guilbert scored 1 goal and assisted 2 goals as well as playing an impressive 34 games. It is assumed that he will start over the ever reliable Elmohamady who is still only 31 years of age! It is worth noticing Matt Target who has signed from The Saints and is to start left-back. Matt who is also £4.5m could prove great value but didn’t get as many minutes last campaign.
Gamble Pick – John McGinn (£5.5m)
Putting a Villa asset in your team will be a gamble for gameweek 1. Newly promoted picks are always risky but could pay off. As already stated, all defenders are £4.5m giving defensive starters potential for good value. The only other striker who is currently registered on the FPL site is Kodja who will be behind Wesley in the pecking order.
This brings me to the midfield. £6.0m is too much to pay for a promoted midfielder in my opinion which rules out Grealish, Hourihane and Jota (will keep an eye on the latter after a great pre-season). El Ghazi and Trezeguet both at £5.5m are fighting for the same position making them both risky picks to start with. Therefore John McGinn £5.5m is my gamble pick. £5.5m is too expensive for a 5th mid and would need to fill your 4th mid spot which means you’ll must likely have to start him every week in your FPL team. John is given permission to go forward as Hourihane (or Luiz) will sit and he loves getting in the box (or scoring screamers). McGinn scored 6 and assisted 10 last season however he picked up 14 yellow cards which is an astronomic amount of cautions. If he can eradicate this from his game, John has a chance of being a great FPL asset. If you haven’t had chance to see his goal against Charlton in pre-season, go and watch it on Villa’s twitter channel, stunning!
Predicted line up
With all the new signings, only time will tell which Dean Smith’s favoured starting team will be. However, with the help of the ever-impressive @ahopcroft13, here is the team likely to start against Spurs on 10th August.
Guilbert – Mings – Engels – Targett
McGinn – Grealish
Jota – Wesley – El Ghazi/Trezeguet
Written by FPL Opinion (@FPL_Opinion)