As we pass into the second half of the season in Europe’s top division, there have been few sides that have caught the imagination as much as Aston Villa in 2023-24.
Unai Emery has overseen a huge transformation at Villa Park since arriving at the club, and their performances throughout the first half of the campaign have given the club an opportunity to secure a Champions League spot this term.
But, can Villa surpass all expectations and finish in the top four, and could a potential title charge still be on the cards in the remainder of the season?
Emery Delivers On Villa Promise
When Emery arrived at Villa Park in November 2022 after a failed stint by Steven Gerrard, he was tasked with taking the club back toward a European finish. However, few could have foreseen the transformation that he would oversee at the club.
Only Manchester City recorded more wins and scored more goals than the Villa in 2023, while they have averaged 2.11 points per game throughout 2023, which would have seen them finish just a point behind Man City if a league season was played between January and December.
Emery has made Villa Park a fortress since his arrival, as the Villa won 15 straight matches before being held to a 1-1 draw by Sheffield United in December.
Testing Period To Overcome
Villa missed a golden opportunity to move to the top of the Premier League standings in the previous round of matches, as they played out a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park against Everton. Interestingly, that was the first match in nearly 100 that an Emery side has played out a goalless draw in England’s top division.
The Villa’s form has dipped since a memorable period in December following wins over Man City and Arsenal at Villa Park, as they have landed just two victories from their last five in the Premier League.
Things don’t get much easier for the Midlands side over the coming weeks, as they come up against Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Cup, before testing home matches against Newcastle and Man United.
Those three matches will likely shape Villa’s domestic season in the second half of the campaign, but at this stage, it could be hard to rule out a charge for a top-four finish.
Latest Villa Odds
Villa are very much in the race for major honours this term, and that is reflected in the BetXchange odds available. The Midlands club sits third in the Premier League standings, and they are just two points off Liverpool, who remain the league leaders.
However, a shock title success for the Midlands club is considered unlikely at the odds available, as they are priced up at 34/1. A more interesting selection for bettors could be Villa to win the Premier League w/o Man City, which is priced up at 14/1.
It has been a long time since Villa’s last domestic honour, but the BetXchange odds do rank them among the leading contenders for the FA Cup this term at 16/1. The club previously won the competition in 1956-57.
European success could also be on the agenda, as they chase a first European prize since winning the UEFA Super Cup in 1982. At present, Villa are priced up as the 29/10 favourites to win the UEFA Conference League this term.