Jack Grealish is the best player in Birmingham, no doubt about that. At the moment Aston Villa is the best club in Birmingham. How do you take the next step? How do you go from relegation battles via mid-table mediocrity to break the top 6? To help you achieve that, here’s the Aston Villa FC club guide for FM21!
I’ve also made a video covering Aston Villa on my Youtube channel!
Aston Villa FC were founded in 1874, playing at their current home ground Villa Park, since 1897.
They have won both the Football League First Division and the FA Cup seven times each and the League Cup five times. The club is also one of five English clubs to have won the European Cup, back in 1981/82.
Their biggest period of success came over a hundred years ago, with six league titles between the years of 1893 and 1910. The most successful period in modern time came under managers Ron Atkinson and Brian Little in the mid-90s with two League Cup titles.
Since the 9th place finish in 2010/11 Aston Villa have managed a 15th place finish in the Premier League as their best finish. Last season the club returned after three seasons in the Championship.
What about now?
This is where you, the new manager, come into the picture. You have just been appointed manager. The fans have high hopes that you will be the “New Ron Atkinson”. As you sit down for your first meeting with the board you are introduced to the Club Vision.
Two things become clear when you look at ”Club Culture”. The board want you to play attacking football and to do it with young players. Developing players through the youth system and refraining from signing players older than 28 suggests that the Villa board wants to build long term, from the ground up!
When it comes to on pitch performance, the bar is set quite high! The board want an immediate mid-table finish. A huge leap compared to previous seasons. If you achieve that, then the board calm down a bit. You get the next four years to go from mid-table to an established Premier League team.
Aston Villa Club Guide: Facilities
Aston Villa Club Guide: Best XI
The best XI looks ok. Two players stand out and they are both found in central midfield. Barkley and Grealish are the two biggest names. They are also pivotal to the success of the team. The keeper position also seems strong for a team of this level.
Aston Villa Club Guide: Squad
If we look at the squad overview this notion grows stronger. There are some quality players in central midfield. Besides Barkley and Grealish they also have McGinn as a valid central midfield option. Can you fit all of them into the starting eleven? The goalkeeper position also looks really strong, with two really solid keepers!
I will focus on three players that are important enough to be classified as key players in my book and they are all central midfielders!
A very well-rounded central midfielder. A work horse with a Work Rate of 16 as his best attribute. He is not entirely defensively minded though. With a Vision of 15 and Passing of 14 he can distribute the balls too!
Jack Grealish and John McGinn are very much alike. They do differ a bit and in the differences we find their individual strengths. Grealish is the better dribbler, with a Flair of 17 allowing him to do the unpredictable.
The Chelsea loanee offers very much the same as the two above. Fitting all of these three into a system provides a high class midfield with the possibility to use a passing oriented style of play!
Aston Villa FC Club Guide: Squad Depth
This screen might seem a bit cluttered and tough to navigate, but it is very helpful if you know what to look for. Here they basically list the positional depth for every single position, which is the reason it feels cluttered. Your job is to ignore the positions that you don’t intend to use and instead focus on the ones that are important to your tactic. Generally the midfield looks really strong, just as I’ve highlighted previously. The defense lacks both quality and depth, as well as the striker position.
Let’s take a quick glance at the financial side of things at Aston Villa.
Well, this isn’t brilliant, is it? Seven million in the treasure chest basically means that you’ll have to work with the squad you’ve got. If you want to strengthen the squad you’d need to sell first!
£2.5M won’t get you anywhere. You need to sell in order to get enough money to strengthen the squad!
Before we delve into the transfer market though, let’s see if we can use the academy to find a few more or less hidden gems.
Aston Villa FC Club Guide: Youth Squad
This is an overview of the players aged 21 or younger. My first impression is that this is a bit of a sorry sight. Not a single five star potential wonder kid means that you’ll probably have to accept the fact that you won’t have many players breaking into the first team squad during the next few years.
I have looked at the players with the highest potential though.
A young striker. The dream of every club. This is very fitting for Aston Villa as well, since they lack both great strikers in the first team and the money to sign one!
The 16 year old Polish keeper will have to develop a lot if he is going to get a chance in the first squad in the next few years. He has the potential to develop a lot though!
Being a young central midfielder at Aston Villa is tough, considering how many good players you have in front of you in the queue. Chukwuemeka is a determined young player with a decent attacking foundation to build on!
So, how do we strengthen this squad without a transfer budget? Well, considering the good quality at midfield it would be great if we could sign someone to take advantage of the chances created!
Mario Mandzukic feels like a great option. He’s certainly a commanding presence in the box and, equally important, he’s available for free! At age 34 he isn’t a long term option, but he may be your best bet to help you reach that mid-table finish!
Another important task is to sign Ross Barkley on a permanent deal to solidify the midfield quality or cover for a potential loss of one of McGinn and Grealish!
Aston Villa FC Club Guide: Final verdict
An Aston Villa FC save is going to be a challenging but fun one! A bit of a lopsided squad leaves you a bit vulnerable in defense and toothless up front. How can you use your strong midfield and at the same time build for the future? Without any money!?
Considering Aston Villa’s league finishes in the last couple of years the board expectations seem tough. If you manage to survive at the job through a mid-table finish, things become a little easier for you with several years time for a bit of a rebuild. But if you can’t improve the squad Aston Villa may very well remain in the bottom regions of the Premier League.
Check out these articles below for more on FM21:
- Manchester United Club Guide
- Setting up a save in FM21
- Transfer Window Winners: FM21 Wonderkids
- A Guide to xG in FM21