Manchester City has been forced to kneel by Unai Emery’s team. It’s a symbolic victory. It’s time for people to acknowledge Aston Villa’s candidacy for the Premier League title this season.
A historic “treble” last season? Man City is like a team from another planet? Pep Guardiola is a genius coach? For Aston Villa, those accolades are meaningless. At Villa Park this morning, Unai Emery’s squad demonstrated that the Sky Blues are nothing special. They made the reigning champions “eat dirt” to assert their candidacy for the Premier League title in the 2023/24 season.
The post-match statistics are compelling evidence that Aston Villa can compete at the top in the 2023/24 season. Emery’s players played dominating football against Man City. They launched a staggering 22 shots on the visitors’ goal. Forcing goalkeeper Ederson to make 6 saves and secured the victory with a goal from midfielder Leon Bailey in the second half.
In contrast, Pep Guardiola’s players seemed like clueless spectators at Villa Park, allowing their opponents to play freely. Throughout the 90 minutes, the team from Manchester played extremely poorly. To the extent that Guardiola questioned the motivation of his players in the post-match press conference. However, Aston Villa was simply too good.
Aston Villa continues to be praised as a “phenomenon” in the Premier League this season. However, the time has come for that moniker to no longer be suitable for Unai Emery’s squad. They deserve to be considered strong contenders for the championship at the end of the season. Look at the defeated opponents of Villa Park to see their class. In their climb to 3rd place (2 points behind Liverpool and 4 behind Arsenal), Aston Villa has already left many members of the “Big Six” dismayed, including Tottenham and Chelsea.
Aston Villa is entirely capable of writing a fairy tale story in the Premier League, much like Leicester City did in the 2015/16 season. Under Emery’s skilled leadership, they are the most well-rounded attacking and defensive team in the foggy land. They challenge every opponent with a versatile approach to approaching the opponent’s goal and score goals diversely. Aston Villa is currently the second most efficient attacking team in the Premier League after 15 rounds, having scored 34 goals, equal to Liverpool and only 2 goals behind Man City, their nemesis.
Especially, Aston Villa has turned Villa Park into an “invincible fortress.” With the 1-0 victory over Man City, they have extended their winning streak at Villa Park in the Premier League to 14 matches. Thus, Emery’s team equals the record that has existed for the club for 91 years. If they continue to beat the league-leading Arsenal at home in the next round on December 10, they will create a new chapter for Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Remember, in the pre-match interview before the clash with Pep Guardiola’s team, Emery shared that Man City is the model he is aiming for in building Aston Villa. The 52-year-old coach also stated that his team is still not deserving enough to be among the giants of English football. Perhaps Emery was too modest. The victory that made the reigning Premier League champions “admit defeat” showed that Aston Villa is a serious contender for the title at the end of this season.