Aston Villa: English Premier League Season Preview
With the Premier League season now rapidly approaching, I have decided to take a look at each of the 20 sides which will be playing at the top level of English football during this upcoming season.
I have decided to actually go in reverse order, with Wolverhampton starting the list off, and Arsenal concluding it, right before the start of the Premier League season.
In the 19th installment of this series, I will look at Aston Villa, who finished sixth in the Premier League last season thanks to some great goalkeeping from Brad Friedel and were subsequently given a Europa League spot this year.
Review of Last Season:
After a sixth place finish in 2008-2009, Martin O'Neill's men did not change their standing in the league table as they once again clinched a Europa League birth with a sixth place finish.
During the season, Brad Friedel continued to be an ageless wonder in the goal, and both Gabriel Agbonlahor and John Carew had solid seasons as Aston Villa beat the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United during their season.
Stephen O'Halloran (Coventry City) and Nicky Shorey (West Bromwich).
All times are GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
Major Questions Going into This Season
1. How big of an impact will Martin O'Neill's departure have?
Just five days before the start of the season, Martin O'Neill decided to leave Aston Villa in an extremely shocking move.
This move certainly will have a major impact on Aston Villa as we start this season, as Aston Villa will need to get off to a strong start with a not-so-strong fixture list at the beginning of the season.
2. Who will be the next full-time manager of Aston Villa?
Right now, Kevin MacDonald is in charge of Aston Villa but that could easily change with former England boss Sven Goran Erikkson, former Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann, and USA manager Bob Bradley all in the mix to take over.
Right now, this is Randy Lerner's decision and nobody is sure who will take over Aston Villa.
3. Will Brad Friedel continue to be ageless in goal?
One of the biggest keys to Aston Villa's success is the goalkeeping of former United States International goalkeeper Brad Friedel in the net, as Friedel has started in a record 226 consecutive Premier League matches.
Now at 39, one must wonder if Friedel has that much left in the tank as there have been very few goalkeepers who have been able to play at Friedel's level, and with fellow American Brad Guzan ready to take over, Friedel might not be the starting goalkeeper at the end of the season.
4. Does Aston Villa have what it takes to participate in Champions League football?
Aston Villa appeared to have hit their peak back in early 2009, when they were third in the Premier League and appeared ready to knock Arsenal out of a Champions League birth before they collapsed and finished sixth.
Aston Villa might remain capable of making the Europa League each season, but they will not be getting that much better as they appear to have reached their peak.
For a preview of Birmingham City's Premier League season, please click here.
For a preview of Blackburn's Premier League season, please click here.
For a preview of Bolton's Premier League season, please click here.
For a preview of Manchester United's Premier League season, please click here.
For a preview of Newcastle's Premier League season, please click here.
For a preview of Tottenham's Premier League season, please click here.
For a premier of West Bromwich's Premier League season, please click here.
For a preview of West Ham's Premier League season, please click here.
For a preview of Wigan's Premier League season, please click here.
For a preview of Wolverhampton's Premier League season, please click here.
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