Unai Emery: Perspective on Aston Villa Premier League Aspirations
The Spaniard miraculously turned Villa from a squad headed for relegation to one that took seventh place and earned a spot in the Europa Conference League the previous season.
Since then, the West Midlands team has only improved, amassing 29 points from 14 games prior to their Wednesday night matchup against champions Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s team was expected to respond because City had lost their last three games, but a rampaging Villa team outworked and outfought City, who deservedly won 1-0.
Although Villa needed a goal from Leon Bailey in the second half to separate the two teams, Villa had an incredible 22 shots on goal compared to Man City’s two.
Villa is now two points ahead of City and just four points behind leaders Arsenal, who they will play on Saturday, in third place in the Premier League standings.
Naturally, Emery was questioned after the match about whether Villa had suddenly become serious contenders for their first Premier League championship since the 1980–81 season.
He downplayed these assertions, stating that seven other clubs are more qualified to win the championship in May.
The Independent cited the 52-year-old as saying, “We are not contenders. We are not as competitive as seven other teams.
We are currently at game fifteen. We will concentrate on our upcoming game sixteen versus Arsenal on Saturday. Although we are pleased to be in third place, it will be extremely challenging to stay there.
“We’re going to strive to keep it while we’re there. We might be a contender if we continue to go through the season, winning games and performing well, but I believe we need more time.
“We are not contenders, but we can believe.” That remains the same—there are seven more teams. We are in game 15. Perhaps in games 30 or 32, but not just yet.
With their 14th straight Premier League victory at Villa Park, Villa’s triumph over Man City tied a club record that dates back to 1903.