Villa’s appearance in the FA Cup final last year showed that they had the quality to beat almost any team on their day. But the departures of Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke will be difficult to replace. Micah Richards returns to England to replace Ron Vlaar, Idrissa Gueye has been brought in to replace captain Delph, whilst Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew will be charged with replacing Benteke’s goals. But Ayew is not a prolific goalscorer, and Gestede has not been tried at Premier League level, so goals may be hard to come by. Jack Grealish emerged as a key player last season, and his creativity on the wing will be needed if the Villains are to improve on last year’s 17th place finish. Manager Tim Sherwood still has something to prove as well, needing to show that he is more than a short-term fixer.
Key Player: Jack Grealish
One to Watch: Rudy Gestede