Can Aston Villa win the Premier League? Our panel rate chance of Leicester-like shock | Football | Sport

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Aston Villa can go top of the Premier League on Friday if they beat Sheffield United, and will stay at the summit for Christmas Day if Liverpool and Arsenal draw at Anfield on Saturday. But are the Villans – who last won the top flight in 1981 – serious contenders in the title fight? Express Sport’s writers have had their say on whether Villa can produce a 2015-16 Leicester-like shock at the top of the table…

Jack McEachen

I can’t see Aston Villa maintaining this title-winning form until May. Unai Emery has them firing but especially towards the end of the season when they still have to go to Arsenal and Manchester City before a tricky final four games, it might be a step too far.

Especially if Villa are competing for European glory, sacrifices may have to be made in the Premier League and the squad will be stretched at times. They do have every chance at securing Champions League football, however.

Charlie Malam

A quick glance at the calendar year Premier League table suggests yes. Across 2023, Aston Villa are 2nd with 81 points (played 39, won 25, drawn six, lost eight). Manchester City are on 87. If – and it’s a big if – City’s players do not return to their usual unstoppable levels in the second half of the season, Unai Emery’s men can be right up there with Arsenal and maybe Liverpool.

Their form at Villa Park is frightening and their xGA (expected goals against) is the third best in the league this season. Injury luck, though, could be a defining factor as Leicester were very fortunate to play almost the exact same 11 week-in, week-out in their title-winning season.

Sam Smith

This season has many resemblances to the 2015-16 campaign in which Leicester rocked world football by winning the Premier League. Several teams whose resources mean they should be challenging for the title – Man Utd and Chelsea – have endured woeful starts.

Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool have not quite looked like teams capable of winning the league. That leaves a gap open for a surprise contender to come to the fore.

When push comes to shove, I do not think the Big Six will allow a repeat of 2015-16. It is simply not in their best interests to have an outsider outperform them all and there will be heavy reinvestment in January to prevent that scenario materialising.

Villa themselves, while winning their last 15 home matches and performing almost as consistently away, could suffer a dip in form. They do not have the resources to be so perfect over the duration of a 38-game season. Ultimately, there is good reason why Leicester were such a wild anomaly.

Archie Griggs

Villa’s form this season has been nothing short of remarkable, with Unai Emery clearly doing a brilliant job with the players at his disposal. However, it would not be a surprise to see one of Manchester City, Arsenal or Liverpool claiming the end-of-season honours in spite of Villa’s incredible run.

They will lack the resources and squad depth to beat the division’s top clubs over 46 games, especially when balancing a Premier League title challenge with their European commitments. A place in next season’s Champions League will be a more realistic target for Villa, who could find themselves in a better position to win a title further down the line if they keep developing at their current rate

Gideon Brooks

Can Aston Villa win the league? Any team from Manchester United up may still feel they are in the race with 21 games, 63 points and the average points needed to win the top flight in the last nine years (91) technically within reach.

But can Villa get near that? Home form is impressive but their away form and a lack of depth in the squad should leave them short. Newcastle made top four with 71 points last year. That looks a more realistic and achievable target.

Neil Squires

No. They do not have the resources to keep their incredible start going all season but the longer they hang around near the top of the table, disrupting the established order, the better. Villa have been a breath of fresh air this season for the Premier League.

Jono Spencer

What an incredible job Unai Emery is doing at Aston Villa. Unfortunately for him, he was at Arsenal at the wrong time amid the uncertainty left from Arsene Wenger’s departure. But he has left his critics very embarrassed since, and Champions League football could be coming to Villa Park.

While winning the Premier League isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, I think it’s a step too far and the balance of playing European football as well as domestically will catch up with Villa. Top that with a very hard ending to the season, including trips to Man City and Arsenal, I expect them to peter out. But all eyes will be on the Champions League.

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