Top 5 FPL Picks – Aston Villa

Disclaimer: The Transfer Window is still open and things could dramatically change for some, or all players mentioned in the Article. The content is however of substance at the time of publishing.

Aston Villa had a decent 20/21 season considering their finishing position in the year before, where they scraped through the relegation fight and avoided the drop on the last day of the 19/20 season. In a vacuum, however, the Villa season was slightly above average as they finished 11th in the table, last in the mid table pack that was chasing the European qualification places. If you add relativity to their finishing position, they were just 10 points off the last European qualification places, and a full 10 points above Newcastle (highest placed team that was in a relegation battle), who finished 12th, a place below Aston Villa. Interestingly, Villa also finished the season with almost the double points tally than Fulham, the last relegated team.

Coming to the specifics of their performances, the team had a fairly decent attack, coupled with a fairly decent defence. For the short of words, the team performed in a balanced manner in patches. In the front, talisman and captain, Jack Grealish was the source of a lot of creativity, followed by decent support from Ollie Watkins and Ross Barkley at the start of the season. After injuries forcing replacements, Bertrand Traore stepped up his game and proved to be a shrewd player. At the defence, the line was led by their No. 1, the universally loved Eminalo Martinez and the defence line consisted of Mings, Konsa, Cash and Targett, and all of them proved to be decent FPL assets in large parts of the season due to their attractive price.

In summary, Aston Villa was a team full of FPL assets which attracted a lot of FPL managers due to the bargain prices. However, after a season with a respectable finish, these prices have caught up with the inflation, so an analysis keeping into account the new prices is mandatory, along with taking into consideration the new signings already confirmed.

We will first analyse the opening set of fixtures and the proceed with the top 5 picks from Aston Villa as per our team in order of preference –

1. Emi Buendia: £6.5M (MID)

Most of the context added for Watkins stands true for Buendia as well. The Aston Villa team had a definitive attacking spark to them last season, and despite a long injury to the talisman Grealish, Villa still managed half decent performances showing that they are not completely reliant on Grealish.

In his own capacity, Buendia is a decent attack minded player, who gets his second chance to impress in the Premier League this season. Last time, Emi played for the then relegated Norwich City in the 19/20 season, where he made 8 attacking contributions (1G 7A), which was relatively a decent output for someone who played under 2500 minutes.

Last year, turning out for the Championship winner Norwich, Buendia set the league on fire with his finesse and matured gameplay. He was the top assister in the league by far with 16 assists to his name. His attacking output isn’t just that, Emi also chipped in 15 goals, taking his total G+A to an elite level of 31. Now the same numbers cannot be expected in the Premier League, but even if Emiliano returns half the attacking output he made in the Championship, we are looking at fair and square 150 points in the season for an asset that will cost just 6.5.

2. Jack Grealish: £8M (MID)

Note: He may move to Manchester City anytime. He will still be a decent pick though!

The mercurial Burmmie boy was a class apart last season as he charged Aston Villa to European places before he picked up an injury that restricted his minutes massively. Grealish also had a decent summer outing on the way to Euro 2020 Final as he was often the player Southgate turned to whenever the team needed attacking spark.

Grealish was an absolute must have last season, not just for his excellent returns, but for the FPL Managers who watch games and get excited when their FPL asset is playing attractive football. Talking about the FPL tally, Grealish amassed 135 points in just 2183 minutes with six (6) goals and twelve (12) assists. His per90 figures stands very high, which makes him a fantastic player to have if he carrier on his for a full season.

Grealish has been touted for a move to Man City predominantly, and Arsenal by some quarters. If his move to Man City materialises, Villa will surely be a worse off team, however, that will make Grealish a much better asset to own, if he is able to play 30+ matches under Pep Guardiola. Considering the status quo, at £8.5M, Grealish may not be the best pick to have, but will surely be worth the buck, especially at the start with kind fixtures.

3. Matt Targett: £5M (DEF)

Aston Villa was one of the most balanced teams in the division last season, not too potent going forward, but good enough to have the 9th best attack. Not super solid at the back, but good enough to have the 7th best defense. Those two combined to get Villa the 11th position in the table.

For such a balanced team, an attacking full back provides brilliant value, and that is how we get to our #4 pick, Matt Targett. The ex-Southampton player can play multiple positions on the left flank, but predominantly plays at the left back position for Aston Villa. However, his flair is visible when he bombs down the flank putting in crosses. Targett also spends a lot of time on the ball with 2522 touches and also plays with an attacking intent with 222 progressive passes, coming out 4th highest in the league.

His clean sheet potential has also been fairly established with Aston Villa recording a total of 16 clean sheets, the third highest in the division, only behind champions Man City and Chelsea.

Targett may not be a player with a very high potential, but Targett assures you of a decent floor, with even an underperforming season having a potential of 120 points overall, with higher benefits if you hit the fixtures correctly.

4. Emi Martinez: £5.5M (GK)

The lovely Argentine is #2 Eminialo in the list and #4 in our list of Aston Villa picks. Martinez has shown, and proven himself to be a top goalkeeper with incredible shot stopping abilities. Emi even had a brilliant summer where he gave in match winning performances alongside Leo Messi and Co. to win Argentina the Copa America 2021.

However, he is not the same fantasy asset that we all loved to have anymore. Emi started the last season with a price tag of £4.5M and quickly became a must have asset as he finished at the top of the goalkeepers list with a decent margin above the number 2.

Those performances have resulted in Emi getting a full million price hike, and therefore may not be the best pick at £5.5M. However, that being said, if Martinez can replicate the performances from last season, even a £5.5M price will be justified. Emi is also an acceptable pick given that-

  1. Not many superb goalkeepers at £4.5M, and
  2. No premium options available in the Aston Villa defence, which looks to have the potential to give another good defensive season this year as well.

5. Ollie Watkins: £7.5M (FWD)

DISCLAIMER – Watkins was initially our #1 pick for Aston Villa. However, due to the signing of Danny Ings, he has shifted down. He still is a good pick for the burst of initial three fixtures.

What makes him attractive can be summarized in –

a) Established Premier League Striker who returned a mammoth 23 G+A (14G and 9A) in his first season itself.

b) Added firepower in the Aston side with the signing of creative powerhouse E. Buendia. This shall create more chances for Watkins to finish and increase his own returns.

c) Not many decent Forward options this year owing to the teams and prices.

Despite the price rise from £6M to £7.5M; we feel that Watkins is still under-priced, taking into account the new fire power they have added to their squad already. If we compare him to the other strikers available in £7.5M or below, he was by far the better performer of them all. And if you take into account the other contextual stuff, there should not be any doubt as to who to choose for your FPL front line this season.

With that, we conclude our discussion on top 5 picks from Aston Villa. To sum it up, Buendia, Grealish and Watkins look decent picks going forward given their collective attacking output and initial set of fixtures for Aston Villa. If you are planning on an early wildcard and playing only as per the fixtures at the start, Martinez and Targett can also prove to be half decent picks too.