Aston Villa waited nervously for the outcome of the final day game involving Arsenal and Watford last season which ended 3-2 in favour of the Gunners to know their fate.
The hosts had gone three goals up at the Emirate, with many expecting an easy win. But being a team in the relegation zone and needed maximum point to beat Aston Villa to the last spot outside the drop zone, Watford has to win.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t mount a comeback at the Emirates. This ensured that Villa didn’t return to the Championship, after gaining qualification to the top tier from the playoffs.
Now things have finally changed for Dean Smith’s men as they looked to have found their mojo. They have continued their 100 percent record in the Premier League so far winning their first four games.
A 7-2 battering of the defending champions, Liverpool was a direct statement that they are not in the Premier League to be among the weeping boys this time around.
They continued their run with a last-minute strike from Ross Barkley against Leicester City that has now recorded back-to-back defeats.
How Aston Villa is becoming a winning team
After surviving relegation last season, Villa made some astute signings in the summer transfer, the massive change began from their backline, signing Inigo Martinez from Arsenal for £20 million.
They looked at their weakest point and promptly attended to it. This is believed to have afforded the lads time to settle into the team.
Now that the former Arsenal goalie has been given them assurance between the sticks, they didn’t do much business with the defense. Villa decided to add more creativity to the midfield in a bid to reduce the attacking pressure on Douglas Costa while allowing Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley to flourish.
In the game, Barkley who joined the club on loan from Chelsea has now scored two goals in his last two games – the same number of goals scored for Chelsea in 42 games. He is definitely having a good time at the Midland club.
The goalscorer lauded the medical team after he had been declared a doubt for the game due to a knee problem.
“I was 50-50 in the week and our club doctor did a really good job getting me right,” said Barkley.
“He said I would end up scoring the goal and I did, so I dedicated the goal to him.
“The manager has given me the platform to play and I am excited and looking forward to every game,” he added.
Moving forward, the Addition of Bertrand Traoe for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £17m and Olie Watkins for £33m with add-ons looked to be the magic wand needed for Smith to get his boyhood club out of the block.
The acquisitions looked to have settled into the team, creating problems for the opposition. This is a direct statement that anyone coming up against Villa already knows what they are capable of.
Villa is now just a point adrift of leaders Everton with a game in hand. This is the first time that Villa will win four Premier League games in a row since 2009, stretching their unbeaten run in the competition to eight games.
- Additionally, the last time Aston Villa won their opening four league games was in the 1930-31 campaign when they went on to finish second in the top flight.
- Their eight-match unbeaten is also their longest run without defeat in the competition since October 2011 (10 games).
- Villa in the Premier League since September 2014 (1-0 in charge of Liverpool), having won each of his previous four meetings with them since then.
- Aston Villa has kept a clean sheet in both of their two away games in the Premier League this term, after keeping none in 19 away games in the competition last season.