Express & Star

Aston Villa achieve dream goal following Manchester City triumph

Villa will play in next season’s Champions League after Tottenham were beaten 2-0 by title-chasing Manchester City.


Unai Emery’s team can no longer be caught in fourth place with their place in Europe’s elite club competition secured with one match of the season still remaining.

It marks a tremendous achievement for Emery and his players, with the Spaniard having dramatically revived the club’s fortunes since taking charge in November 2022.

Villa are now guaranteed their highest league finish since 1996 and have already racked up their best points tally in a 38-match season since 1990.

With it comes the prize of a return to Europe’s top club competition for the first time since the 1982-83 season - and the first since the European Cup was rebranded and expanded as the Champions League.

Monday’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Liverpool, when substitute Jhon Duran scored two late goals to salvage a point, meant Tottenham needed to beat City to retain any chance of overhauling Villa on the season’s final day.

But while they caused the defending champions problems in a nervy affair, two second half goals from Erling Haaland earned City victory and they can now clinch a fourth consecutive title by beating West Ham on Sunday.

The celebrations in the blue half of Manchester may have been superseded by Villa supporters, who find their club back at Europe’s top table after a fantastic campaign.

Emery had claimed he would not be watching Tottenham’s match but the head coach and his players were together at the club’s end of season awards when the final whistle went in north London, allowing the celebrations to properly begin.