HomeFootball NewsAston Villa prepare for Europa Conference League challenge

Aston Villa prepare for Europa Conference League challenge

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When Unai Emery took over as manager of Aston Villa in November 2022 the club were 16th in the Premier League. At the end of a long 38 game 2022-23 season, interrupted by the World Cup, Villa found themselves in a highly respectable seventh place in the table.

It was a spectacular job from Emery which saw the Villa steadily climb the Premier League table and secure European football for the first time in 13 years. The big question is, how will they fair in the European competition this season?

Since Emery commenced his work at Villa Park his side have the fifth best record in the Premier League, which highlights just how far they have come under the Spaniard.

The Villains will certainly fancy their chances in the Europa Conference League next season, especially having seen West Ham win it in June 2023.

There is speculation that Juventus may potentially be disqualified from the competition due to alleged FFP breaches related to transfers. That would be one huge rival less to contend with for Villa.

Other teams in the competition include the 2021-22 Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt and LOSC Lille from France. It won’t be a walk in the park by any means.

So far in the transfer window, Villa have completed the signing of centre-back Pau Torres from Villarreal for a reported £31.5m. He’s a talented defender that Emery knows extremely well, as Torres played under the current Villa boss for three years in Spain.

The 26-year-old also has experience playing in European competition, including earning himself a Europa League winners medal in 2021 at Villareal under Emery. Spending big money on a defender means that Torres will likely go straight into the Villa starting XI, which could cast doubts over other centre-backs’ futures at the club.

Meanwhile, Youri Tielemans has also joined the team from recently-relegated Leicester City on a free transfer, which is another great addition to the Villa team. Despite a disappointing 2022-23 campaign from the Belgian, he’ll certainly be ready to go for his new club and will be keen to test himself in European competition once again.

In the midfielder’s 151 Premier League games for Leicester, he scored 21 goals and assisted 21 times, showing how influential he can be from the middle of the park.

The last time silverware was brought back to Villa Park was in the 1995-96 season when they won the League Cup, with Brian Little in charge. If Villa are able to go all the way and win the Europa Conference League, that would secure European football for another season as they would get to play in the Europa League.

The side will fancy their chances in the tournament, with the increasing quality that they have available in the squad. The club have been so strong domestically for several months with the guidance of Emery, who knows all about success in Europe.

He will be looking build the momentum on those Thursday nights under the lights. The Spaniard has won the Europa League four times in his managerial career.

Overall, Aston Villa will be a team to watch in the Europa Conference League this season, due to their impressive style of play and how strong they have been under Emery, both defensively and in attack.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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