Villa’s Champions League Hopes Dim as Big Clubs Catch a Break

Aston Villa’s remarkable 2023/24 campaign saw them secure Champions League football for the first time since the 1982/83 season. However, our experts are not confident in the Villains’ ability to repeat that feat this year.

Unai Emery’s side defied expectations by finishing fourth in the Premier League last season, showcasing impressive consistency throughout the year. But a key statistic suggests they may struggle to maintain their top-four position this time around.

History Not on Villa’s Side

Non-big six Premier League teams often face challenges in the season after qualifying for Europe, with the added pressure and fixture congestion proving too much. This pattern is evident across several previous cases, including Newcastle’s seventh-place finish in 2023/24 following their Champions League appearance.

Other examples include West Ham, Swansea, Hull, Leicester, and Southampton – all of whom failed to secure European qualification via the league the year after their initial success.

Competitors Catching a Break

Aston Villa’s main rivals for the final Champions League spot this season – Newcastle, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur – all have the advantage of not competing in Europe’s top competition. Newcastle have no European football at all, while Spurs, United, and Chelsea are in the Europa League and Conference League respectively.

This means these clubs will face less demanding schedules and have more opportunities to rest their players during the midweek European fixtures. Additionally, Villa’s competitors have larger squads and greater financial resources to strengthen their teams, putting the Villains at a distinct disadvantage before the new season even begins.

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