SEASON REVIEW: Timeline of a memorable Aston Villa season
It’s been a memorable Aston Villa season as they greatly improved on their 2019/20 campaign by finishing 11th in the Premier League.
In a stark comparison to the 2019/20 season, Villa were never in any danger of relegation and actually challenged towards the top end of the table for much of the season before tailing off in the second half of the season.
Manager Dean Smith described it as ‘a season of progression’ following the final day victory over Chelsea.
We look at the timeline of a memorable Aston Villa season
4th October: Aston Villa followed up wins against Sheffield United and Fulham with quite possibly the most extraordinary result in Premier League history as they won 7-2 against Liverpool, who were the 2019/20 champions and had only lost 4 league games in 22 months. Ollie Watkins bagged a first half hat trick, whilst Jack Grealish got a brace as well as three assists.
18th October: Ross Barkley, who had an impressive early season after joining on loan, grabbed a last minute winner against Leicester City to make it 4 wins from 4 and put Aston Villa second in the table.
8th November: Unfortunately Villa then lost their next two games at home to Leeds and Southampton but they showed their attacking prowess once more when they visited Arsenal. A dominant display saw them win 3-0 with Watkins grabbing a brace. Villa were 6th in the table.
Derby wins brighten Christmas
12th December: Villa were again unable to show consistency with losses against West Ham and Brighton making it just 1 win in 5 games but they put that behind them against local rivals Wolves. Despite going down to 10 men when Douglas Luiz received a second booking, Villa earns a 94th minute penalty which was stuck away by Anwar El-Ghazi to give them a 1-0 win.
20th December: El-Ghazi continued his fine December form by bagging a brace at The Hawthorns as Villa beat West Brom 3-0. They followed that up with a Boxing Day victory against Crystal Palace to sit in 6th place, just two points off a Champions League place.
New Year struggles
27th January: Villa had already suffered January defeats to Manchester United and Manchester City before coming out on the wrong side of a topsy-turvy game against Burnley. Goals from Watkins and Grealish had put Villa 2-1 up but Dwight McNeil and Chris Wood scored to give Burnley a 3-2 victory and send Villa down to 10th.
3rd February: Villa rued some missed chances as they lost 3-1 at home to West Ham with Emiliano Martinez making some rare mistakes with Villa falling to 11th in the table.
Martinez stands out
6th February: Aston Villa completed a first league double over Arsenal for 28 years by beating them 1-0 at Villa Park with Ollie Watkins grabbing the only goal after 2 minutes. They were indebted to Martinez who they signed from Arsenal in the summer of 2020 after the Argentine goalkeeper produced some excellent saves.
27th February: Villa kept a 13th clean sheet of the season by beating Leeds 1-0 at Elland Road with El-Ghazi scoring the winner. Smith said Villa have a chance of finishing in Europe as they sit 8th in the table, just a point off a European spot.
Grealish injury takes toll
3rd March: Villa’s lowest point of the season comes at bottom club Sheffield United where they lose 1-0 despite having a man advantage for more than 30 minutes. Dean Smith admits to being ‘annoyed’ as Villa struggle without the injured Grealish, who created more chances per minute in the Premier League than anyone else this season.
25th April: A run of 1 win in 7 league games got worse as Villa could only draw 2-2 at home to West Brom in a cracking West Midlands derby. Anwar El-Ghazi’s early penalty was cancelled out by Matheus Pereira before Tyrone Mings scored an own goal. Keinan Davis rescued a point for Villa with his first Premier League goal but without Grealish’s influence, Villa had slipped to 11th in the table and Europe was now a distant dream.
1st May: Despite the European hopes being dashed, Villa were still able to remind supporters of their progress with some excellent victories including a 2-1 triumph away at Everton. Watkins, who netted 14 goals in an impressive debut campaign which saw him named in Southgate’s provisional squad, gave Villa the lead before they were pegged back.
19th May: Watkins again showed his clinical nature as Villa comeback to win 2-1 away at Tottenham Hotspur but results elsewhere mean 11th position is confirmed with one game remaining.
23rd May: Villa were able to welcome supporters and put on a show as they beat Chelsea 2-1, despite the London club having Champions League football to play for thanks to goals from Bertrand Tralee and El-Ghazi.
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