Ollie Watkins Aston Villa

Aston Villa secure Champions League

Aston Villa will be going toe to toe with Europe’s elite after securing qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening.

Unai Emery’s Aston Villa have thoroughly enjoyed what has been an incredible 2023/24 season, and on Tuesday evening, their spot not only in the Premier League’s top four, but also in the UEFA Champions League for next season.

Qualification for European Football’s most prestigious cup competition was confirmed after Manchester City secured a 2 – 0 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs in North London. It was the Cityzens and the Premier League’s leading goal scorer who scored both of the goals for Pep Guardiola’s side, with the first coming early on in the second half before the second came from the penalty spot in stoppage time right at the end of the game (51’, 90+1’).

Aston Villa will now be competing in the top tier European Competition for the first time since they were playing in it as the defending Champions all the way back in the 1982/83 season when it was known as the European Cup.

That year, the Villans got to the Quarter Final where they lost 3 – 1 to Juventus, who scored thanks to Michel Platini (14’, 68’) and Marco Tardelli (27’). Peter Withe was the sole scorer for Villa that day, getting what was a consolation goal late on in the game (81’).

Talking of Peter Withe, he of course scored the winning goal in the 1982 Final against Bayern Munich, with the forward scoring the winning goal with just over twenty minutes to go in the game at De Kuip in Rotterdam, the home of Dutch Giants Feyenoord.

To get to the final, Aston Villa had beaten the likes of Valur (7 – 0 agg.), BFC Dynamo (2 – 2 agg, Villa win on away goals), Dynamo Kyiv (2 – 0 agg.) and Anderlecht (1 – 0 agg.).

Then, a short time after their historic triumph in the 1982 European Cup Final, Aston Villa went on to go toe to toe with Spanish Giants FC Barcelona in the European Super Cup Final. Barca had won the European Cup Winners’ Cup that same year after beating Belgian side Standard Liege 2 – 1 in the final.

Aston Villa’s UEFA Super Cup encounter against FC Barcelona took place over the course of two legs. The first leg at the Camp Nou in Catalonia saw a 1 – 0 win for the Spanish hosts thanks to a winning goal from Marcos Alonso early on in the second half (52’).

Then, in the second leg at Villa Park, Tony Barton’s Villans emerged as 3 – 0 winners against the Blaugrana to win the tie at extra time. Gary Shaw (80’), Sid Cowens (100’), and Ken McNaught (104’) were all on the scoresheet for the home side that day.

Fast forward to the 2023/24 Premier League season, where Unai Emery’s Aston Villa would be aiming to finish even higher than the 7thplace that they had achieved the year before. This had seen them qualify for the 2023/24 UEFA Europa Conference League, the club’s first involvement in a European competition for more than ten years.

Whilst Villa did exit Europe at the Semi-Final stage against Greek Giants Olympiacos, the club maintained a stellar campaign throughout, even with the plethora of injuries they suffered. The likes of Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendia were out for the whole season, whilst there were injuries at various points of the season for the likes of Pau Torres, Emiliano Martinez, Jacob Ramsey, Youri Tielemans, Nicolo Zaniolo, Boubacar Kamara and Morgan Rogers.

Throughout the 2023/24 campaign, there have been a number of particularly memorable results for the Villans. This includes a 1 – 0 win against reigning Premier League Champions Manchester City, 1 – 0 and 2 – 0 wins against Arsenal, a 4 – 1 win against West Ham United, a 6 – 1 win against Brighton, and a famous 3 – 3 draw against Liverpool in their most recent game where they had to come from 3 – 1 down to draw with very little time remaining.

Additionally, Aston Villa has the incredible record of being the only team in the Premier League this season to beat both Manchester City and Arsenal.

With UEFA Champions League now secured for next season, 2024/25, there will be a party atmosphere at Selhurst Park on the final day of the current campaign, where Unai Emery’s Villans will go coming face to face with an in-form Crystal Palace, led by Austrian Head Coach Oliver Glasner.

Europe’s elite will be coming to B6 next term, and it is likely to see the likes of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, AC Milan, and Paris Saint Germain coming to the Second City for a game at Villa Park.

Excitement and anticipation are now building rapidly for Aston Villa’s 2024/25 Premier League and UEFA Champions League campaigns under the stewardship of Spanish Head Coach Unai Emery.

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