Paul Lambert’s young team will draw on last season’s relegation scrap to spur them on to a higher finish this year. The biggest boost for Villa was Christian Benteke withdrawing his transfer request and signing a new 4 year deal. Lambert has carried on with Villa’s policy of buying young, hungry players, with goalkeeper Jed Steer; defenders Antonio Luna and Jores Okore; midfielders Leandro Bacuna and Aleksandar Tonev; and forward Nicklas Helenius all coming in. The Villains will certainly be looking onwards and upwards this campaign, with a mid-table finish the aim.
Key Player: Christian Benteke. Benteke scored 19 goals in his debut season for Villa, attracting interest from Arsenal and Spurs. After handing in a transfer request, Benteke withdrew it to enable him to develop and get enough playing time to be in the Belgium world cup squad.
One to Watch: Nicklas Helenius. A full Danish international, Helenius is a proven goalscorer, scoring a goal every 2.5 games for AaB. The 6ft 5 striker could see his chances limited by Benteke, however given his chance; he may prove a bargain from Paul Lambert.