Aston Villa Aiming For a European Trophy

On 18 April, Aston Villa advanced to the semifinals of the UEFA Europa Conference League after squeezing by a tough matchup with LOSC Lille. Yet another dramatic penalty shootout involving 31-year-old Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez saw his side enjoy victorious celebrations.

Aston Villa’s next opponent in the competition is Olympiakos from Greece. The first-leg match is scheduled for 2 May, at Villa Park. Aston Villa’s starting goalie, Emiliano Martinez, will be unavailable for this match due to accumulating three yellow cards throughout the tournament resulting in a one-game suspension.

With just four teams left in the 2023/24 UEFA Europa Conference League, Aston Villa is considered the favourites to win the title this season. Another Conference League semifinal pair features Fiorentina and Club Brugge.

Aston Villa’s Progress and Current Condition

Aston Villa’s development has been firm and steady since the arrival of Unai Emery. The 52-year-old Spaniard was appointed as Aston Villa’s head coach on 24 October 2022, replacing Steven Gerrard.

Emery came in as an experienced specialist with four UEFA Europa League titles at his disposal and prior Premier League experience, having taken charge of Arsenal for over a year. The influence of the Spanish coach was instant and catapulted the team to heights that were barely imaginable at the time.

Villa’s fans saw their team rise from the relegation zone to seventh place in the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, earning them the right to participate in the Europa Conference League qualification round of the 2023/24 season. The Villans later secured a spot in the European competition in an effortless manner and, fast forward, now enjoy their current status as the tournament’s semifinalists.

With an increasing team chemistry, arrival of new players, and improvement of overall team performances, Emery ensured the maintenance of Aston Villa’s progress. At the moment, Aston Villa is a team capable of causing trouble for any big team in the Premier League. As things stand, Villa is positioned fourth in the domestic league, with a decent opportunity at qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season.

Aston Villa’s Leaders and Main Figures

When talking about Aston Villa’s strongest weapons, Ollie Watkins is definitely one of the first names popping into mind. The English striker has had a stellar season with his team, emerging as a prolific goal-scorer and provider. With 26 goals and 12 assists across all competitions, Watkins has been pivotal in Villa’s success, even without penalty kicks.

His consistent productive performances have raised discussions of him being a Premier League Player of the Season contender. Watkins’ versatility and selflessness drive his team forward making him a valuable asset for both club and potentially the England national team in the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament.

One of the players who also leaves a strong impact on Aston Villa’s team is John McGinn. The presence of Aston Villa’s captain on the pitch and outside of it carries a special value for the club. His connection to the club and leadership traits boost the team’s spirit and fill in the right energy to compete in important matches. In addition, McGinn’s numbers in goal contributions have taken a significant positive turn since last season, proving his enhanced goal production efficiency.

Villa’s new acquisitions such as Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby have demonstrated effectiveness in energizing the team’s offensive possessions with crafty dribbling skills and a blistering pace. Pau Torres, a recent defensive signing from Villarreal, has solidified Villa’s backline establishing a strong centre-back partnership with Ezri Konsa Ngoyo.

Villa also often relies on valuable central midfield players, like Douglas Luiz and Youri Tielemans. The former is having the best season of his career, while the latter is a senior Belgian international since 2016 and has proven to be yet another successful addition to Villa’s starting line-up this season.

Considering the level of Aston Villa’s performances and their decorated squad, it is quite understandable why they are widely seen as the favourites to win the 2023/24 UEFA Europa Conference League. Aston Villa has not won a major European club tournament since 1982, and is hungry to finally add a trophy to their collection. By winning the Conference League this season, Aston Villa will become the third winner in the competition’s history, following Roma and West Ham United’s victories in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

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