Consecutive 1-0 losses to Manchester United (April 30) and Wolves (May 6) have all but quashed Aston Villa’s hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Europa League next season.
After securing a 1-0 victory over Fulham on April 25, Villa moved up into fifth place, five points off of fourth-place United. But results since have seen the Birmingham side slide into eighth place as of May 9.
Concerns were raised after Villa were thoroughly outplayed in a 1-1 draw at Brentford on April 22, but the Fulham win quelled fears of poor form.
Since then, Villa have not scored and lack sharpness in front of goal in crucial moments. With 54 points through 35 matches, it may take nine points from their final three matches to even have a shot at qualifying for Europe.
Villa’s final three matches are against Spurs (6th), Liverpool (5th), and Brighton (7th) and provide prime opportunities to gain ground on teams directly above them in the table.
Europe is still the target for Aston Villa
Despite now being considerable underdogs to finish in the European places, Villa are still aiming to finish the season strong, knowing that if they do, they still have a chance.
“As much as when we were winning we weren’t getting carried away, it’s important we don’t let two defeats hamper what could be an exciting end to the season,” said captain John McGinn after the Wolves loss.
“We’ve made it extremely difficult for ourselves now but the challenge is still there for us. We’ll be aiming for three wins in the last three games.”
Manager Unai Emery also kept European hopes alive, but also recognized that his project at Villa has only just begun.
“If it’s not this year, my idea and objective is the same — try to play in Europe with Aston Villa,” he said. “Not only just to play in Europe but I want to play in the Champions League with Aston Villa.”
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