Express & Star

Aston Villa season review: A campaign for the ages

The 2023-24 season was Villa’s best for decades.

Aston Villa's Leon Bailey celebrates

A fourth place Premier League finish saw Unai Emery’s team earn Champions League qualification and take the club back to Europe’s top club competition for the first time since 1983.

Where did all go so right?


There were many. Villa won more matches and claimed more points than in any 38-match top flight campaign since 1990. They also scored more league goals than in any top flight season since 1977 and became the first Villa team to average two per match since 1960.

Some of those matches will live long in the memory, not least December’s 1-0 win over Manchester City which was recently hailed by Ron Atkinson as the best performance he’d ever witnessed from a Villa team. That is some compliment - and yet it is entirely worthy. The win over City was followed less than 72 hours later by victory by the same scoreline over Arsenal, as Emery’s men set a new club record of 15 consecutive home league wins.

Ollie Watkins enjoyed a spectacular season in which he established himself as one of the Premier League’s best strikers. The England international might have fallen one goal short of becoming the first Villa player since Peter Withe to net 20 in a top flight campaign but his tally of 27 in all competitions was still the best figure recorded by any of the club’s strikers since Andy Gray in 1977.