Aston Villa: Sky Bet Championship season preview 2016/17
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 30/10/19 3:38pm
All the transfer news, fan opinion, predictions and odds ahead of Aston Villa's 2016/17 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Last year's finish: 20th (Premier League)
Manager: Roberto Di Matteo
Title odds: 8/1 with Sky Bet
First five games: Sheffield Wednesday (A), Rotherham (H), Huddersfield (H), Derby (A), Bristol City (A)
Players In: Tommy Elphick (Bournemouth, £3m), Aaron Tshibola (Reading, Undisclosed), Pierluigi Gollini (Verona, £4.25m), Ross McCormack (Fulham, £14m)
Players Out: Charles N'Zogbia (released), Kieran Richardson (released), Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough, free), Carles Gil (Deportivo, loan)
Fan's view - Dean Phillips
Expectation: Automatic promotion, most probably second. With new owners and manager we should be able to put a team together strong enough to bounce straight back. I'd be happy just seeing decent football as it can't get any worse than last year!
Most important player: Gabby Agbonlahor. After four seasons or pretty dismal performances I'm hoping Gabby might find the level in the Championship a little bit more to his liking. He owes it to the fans to put the hard work in and start scoring again.
Who will win the league? Norwich
Dark horse? Blackburn
One Championship player you'd want to sign? Joe Mason
Ollie's prediction: 16th
They're lucky I've put them this high. Last season Villa's players felt the weight of the shirt, but not the importance of it. They didn't respect the badge enough. I'm worried nothing will change.
They could easily get relegated again. They've got Di Matteo, who is a wonderful man, but it's a huge job to carry that expectation. It's going to take something special to turn it around.
The overpaying they would have done thinking they're just a nailed-on Premier League side means they're now in the mire. Most of the players wouldn't have had relegation clauses in their contracts and they're now going to be on huge wages, lacking motivation.
I don't care who they've got on the bench or who's running the club, they have to sort out the squad, the mentality and the crowd's expectations. It's not going to be easy. Teams as big as Villa have suffered back-to-back relegations. They need to really careful.
Sky Bet odds
Aston Villa are a 9/4 chance of bouncing straight back from relegation and returning to the Premier League, with EFL sponsor Sky Bet making them 8/1 second favourites for the title. Those fearing back-to-back drops can find odds of 33/1 on them playing League One football next season, with a top-six finish considered an odds-on chance at 10/11.
Sky Bet's Aston Villa specials offer them at 13/2 to win their first three games and 33/1 for Roberto Di Matteo's men to rack up 100 points or more, while Rudy Gestede is considered their main goal threat at 10/1 to be the division's top goalscorer.