Express & Star

Five key Aston Villa wins on way to achieving Champions League dream

Villa have qualified for the Champions League after a stunning season.

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Aston Villa's Leon Bailey celebrates scoring against Manchester City

For the first time since 1983, the club will play in Europe’s elite club competition.

Here we look at the five most important wins for Unai Emery’s team on their successful push for a top-four finish.

Villa 6 Brighton 1, September 30

This was the day Villa first showed their true potential. It has been a decent start to the season for Unai Emery’s team, winning four and losing two of their opening eight matches.

But Brighton arrived at Villa Park above them in the table and were being touted by some observers as a more serious threat to the top six.

This 90 minutes flipped the narrative. Villa were 3-0 up in 26 minutes through an Ollie Watkins and a Pervis Estupinan own goal. Ansu Fati pulled one back for the Seagulls early in the second half but Watkins then completed his hat-trick before further goals from Douglas Luiz and Jacob Ramsey rounded off a memorable day.

The victory saw Villa climb into the top five and they stayed there for the rest of the season.

Tottenham 1 Villa 2, November 26