Aston Villa started this season in miserable fashion and decided to cut ties with Steve Bruce before it was too late – a move that appears to have paid dividends.
Despite leading them to the playoff final last season, with the help of John Terry at the back, the Villans struggled to replicate any of that form in the early stages of the season.
Dean Smith was brought into the club, with JT arriving as his assistant, and the good times have started to finally flow at Villa Park as 2018 is set to come to an end.
Two men have excelled so far under the former Brentford manager’s reigns so far and if they are to produce the same sort of performances they currently are next year, 2019 could be the year that Villa Park host Premier League football once again.
Throughout the whole summer, did a single day go by where there was a rumour circulating that a certain Jack Grealish would be heading to Tottenham Hotspur – something the player had initially thought as well.
What was the most surprising thing to happen to Villa in the transfer window was the fact that they had managed to keep hold of their star man and convince him to sign a new contract to remain with the club shortly after the window closed.
And, the Villans are reaping the rewards. The 23-year-old is key to what Smith’s side do and has caused a number of Championship defences a constant headache with his skill and ability, including Second City rivals Birmingham City, in which he netted.
Grealish possesses bundles of quality, it has become commonplace for him to be one of the most fouled players on the pitch when he plays, something that also consistently happened to him last season as well.
Having the midfielder remain at the club this summer will go a long way to helping them be within a shout of playing top-flight football in 2019.
Despite having only been at the club since the end of August, Tammy Abraham has shone during his time at Villa Park.
The 21-year-old has been terrific in front of goal, having netted 11 times in his 14 appearances so far, including four against Nottingham Forest at the end of last month.
The Chelsea loanee is a proven goalscorer in the Championship, so it should not come as a surprise that he has been so lethal at this level in just the three months he has been involved at Villa Park.
There is no doubt that Abraham is a key part of Smith’s plans and if he can hit the ground running at the turn of the year, Aston Villa will have quickly forgotten about their miserable start and will be feeling confident of being within touching distance of the top-flight once again.
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