On FM Scout you can chat about Football Manager in real time since 2011. Here are 10 reasons to join!

Aston Villa F.C. - Looking for direction

Started on 22 October 2022 by ippe
Latest Reply on 12 April 2023 by Binky
Aston Villa F.C. Season 2027/28 - End of the season report - Finding our direction

I've already shown you a sneak peek of what was our position when we had 5 games left in our season. Let's see how we got there and how did the season finish.

Premier League

After the Q3 we were 2nd on the league 1 point behind Manchester City and this was the situation for much of the final games of the season too.

Our schedule was so congested that some slips were expected but we didn't play too well at all. We dropped points on three of our four first matches but at the same time City were struggling as well, so they didn't manage to gain any advantage over us. At one point we hade 3 games on 6 days and that's just insane.

At the end of the season we managed to win three out of our last four games which was enough to bring home the Premier League Trophy!

We clinched the trophy at home against WBA with a 6-0 win and Andreas Schjelderup scored two of the goals. Schjelderup was my first signing when I took the Aston Villa job over 5 years ago and his journey to this point is quite similar than my journey as a manager of a this club. There has been ups and downs and at points things haven't looked that pretty but eventually it all came together. I brought the PL trophy to Aston Villa and Schjelderup was one of the key players scoring 12 times and assisting further 6 goals in his 26 PL appearances while getting an avg rating of 7.38.

One down, two to go. Next up the FA Cup!

The FA Cup

We made a bit of a cup run at FA Cup. When the season starts, the FA Cup isn't the priority target but its a glorious trophy on its own right and winning multiple trophies in a season is a sign of a dominant team and that's what we want to be.

Let's skip over the few early rounds and focus more on the games leading to the Final. At quarter-final stage we were handed a tough draw as we had to face Liverpool. Liverpool were surprisingly toothless against us and didn't show much fight despite us beating them 5-2 in our previous meeting. We also managed to beat Newcastle in a relatively open game on semi-finals before it was time to face Arsenal on the final.

We had a poor start on the final as Martinelli escaped our defenders and scored the first goal early in the game. After that we took control of the game and Endrick scored on both sides of the half time and we were heading towards the FA Cup trophy until Schick scored such a cheap goal for Arsenal. They made a meaningless lob ball behind our defenders who were slow to react and we headed on OT which was rather eventless to say the least. It took crap ton of penalties but finally Romeo Lavia missed for Arsenal and our first 8 takers scored so we won the FA Cup!

Two down, one to go. Next up, the Chaaaaaaaampioooooooons League!

The Champions League

During our time with Aston Villa we have gained a reputation as a strong League Phase team but the quarter-finals has been the furthest stage we have progressed to. As you already know, this changed for this season.

I already talked about out heroic comeback against AS Roma. On quarter-finals we faced our PL title rivals Manchester City who we had beaten two times on the PL this season. We started the match-up well by beating City 2-1 at home but the away game was trickier. We were getting the better changes but City were leading 2-1 at the end of the game and we were heading on OT until Stockport's own Manchester City academy graduate Mani Billingsley scored a 2-2 equaliser on the 93rd minute taking us to the semi finals!

The semi-final were fully English as we were drawn against Liverpool meanwhile Arsenal faced Manchester Untied. The away game at Anfield ended 1-1 after relatively even game, although Liverpool were better side and perhaps should have won the game. I was confident before our home game and Billingsley was the hero once again by scoring twice before the half-time and putting the match-up on bed before the HT. We scored once more for good measure on second half and were headed to the final against Arsenal.

We had already beaten Arsenal on one final, so I knew the buggers would come hard on us. Be that as it may, only one of the teams had Mani Billingsley who scored on the 6th minute sending us to the 7th heaven. The game was relatively uneventful but I felt the game was on our control. We were leading 1-0 towards the end of the game and Leon Bailey scored a great volley on 91st minute bringing the UCL trophy back to Villa Park after 46 years! Bailey is one of our only few day one players, so it warms my heart to see him to score on a biggest night of our career.

Oh, baby a triple!!! I don't think I would have like Farming Simulator after all.

I'll probably take a little break now and return with player stats and future plans afterwards. I have built an amazing young squad and I think we are only getting started!
See, I told you that your first title would still be exciting!

If you're considering your future, I recommend moving to a different country and trying again with a new Aston Villa-esque club - Spain has quite a few clubs like that, Sevilla, Valencia, Villareal, La Coruna, Bilbao, etc.
2022-12-02 17:31#290655 Harleygator : See, I told you that your first title would still be exciting!

If you're considering your future, I recommend moving to a different country and trying again with a new Aston Villa-esque club - Spain has quite a few clubs like that, Sevilla, Valencia, Villareal, La Coruna, Bilbao, etc.

Yeah you did, it also helps that I got three of them at once!

Interesting suggestions regarding the next save. I managed Sevilla and Villarreal on previous FM, so I don't like to manage them again on FM23. I don't like the owner of Valencia, so they don't deserve me on FM23 either. Transfers are probably my favourite things on FM and you can't really make much transfers with Bilbao, so I think they are not an option for me either.

I have thought of managing in Germany next. I really like their 50+1 rule and I think out of the all big leagues, the football and the climate around it is as its best in Germany.

But I don't like to think about my next save yet, as I still have unfinished business with Aston Villa, but more on that in few mintues.
Aston Villa F.C. Season 2027/28 - Season review of a treble winning season

Our 6th season with Aston Villa ended phenomenally is we managed to win the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. Those trophies were the 2nd, 3rd and 4th trophies we have won with Aston Villa as we managed to bring the Carabao Cup home in 2026.

My goal for the save was to establish Aston Villa as one of the best clubs in the World and while we have been finishing in top 4 multiple times in a row, I feel this was our first season of true greatness and we still only won the league by collecting mere 82 points, instead of 90+ pts like Manchester City and Liverpool have managed to gather in real life.

So, I think we still have a point to prove and we need to win the major trophies multiple times to assert our dominance in the World of football. I want Aston Villa to be recognized as the best club in the World, and we aren't quite there yet. And to be fair my squad is still very young and I want to see how far I can take the likes of Billingsley, Endrick and Loder, who have each won the Golden Boy award.

You can see our player stats from all competitions below. Billingsley got a 51 goal-season, which is truly amazing. 33 of the goals came on PL, 9 on UCL and 9 on FA Cup.

Nico was our "worst" regular performer with an avg rating of 6.92 as a DLP (D), which pretty much sums up our season. We didn't have any weak links on our team

Endrick had few minor injuries during the season which limited him to 40 apps in all comps but he scored big goals in UCL when it mattered, so I'm more than happy with him as well.

Obviously the sqaud is at very good state and there is no need to change anything at all. I want to play emphasis on realism, so I won't be making changes just for the sake of it either. There is no way I'll be selling our key players, but if I receive high offers from squad players, I could sell them and replace them with better and cheaper options.

More than likely I'll be buying few prospects for our youth team but I don't think there will be many changes for the starting XI, so I expect a relatively quiet summer.
Brilliant to come back to reading and seeing this treble. An incredible journey so far, at points you certainly felt you weren't growing quickly enough, but to win a treble within six seasons is a remarkable achievement, congratulations. I look forward to seeing just how far this young team can go!
2022-12-05 17:46#290794 TheLFCFan : Brilliant to come back to reading and seeing this treble. An incredible journey so far, at points you certainly felt you weren't growing quickly enough, but to win a treble within six seasons is a remarkable achievement, congratulations. I look forward to seeing just how far this young team can go!

Thanks for the comment!

I haven't really thought about my save in a way that I won a treble in 6 years with Aston Villa, but when put that way, it seems kind of impressive.

To be fair I lost my motivation for a moment after winning the treble. I've played FM23 every day since the beta came out and I felt I needed to rest a bit and do some other things as well.

However, I have now returned and I am raring to go again.
Aston Villa F.C. Season 2028/29 - Q1 Report - Starting our treble defence

The summer came and went, without much happening.

I signed a young English Central Defender by the name of Neil Harper to be our central defender for the future. I paid £54m for the player, which on the hindsight might have been too much but he was our only signing, so I don't think it matters too much.

I sold players for whopping £179m but I don't think this has an impact for our team for one way or another. I believe that signing players just to sell them for a profit later is a form of cheesing the system, so I can assure you that this is not what I'm doing. 5 of the sold players were our academy graduates, Nianzou and Paqueta were first team regulars who had lost their spots on the starting XI and Blanco, Piccione & Zaire-Emery were youngster with high potential but couldn't quite realise it with us.

I didn't need the money but I didn't had much need for the sold players, so there was no need to hold on for them.

Shaky start for the season?

The season started well with two wins in two one-off finals as we took home both the Community Shield and the European Super Cup. I think these are nice additions, should we win some major trophies later in the season, but on their own these two "trophies" don't matter much.

We have played 9 games on PL with a record of a 4-4-1. To be fair this is rather dissappointing start for the title defence but it is what it is. I think our young guys were having a title hangover, but I'm not too harsh on them. Win against Manchester United in our latest game means we are 6 points behing the league leading Liverpool, but I think we can make a solid push for the title as the season progresses.

On European soil we started our trophy defence with three wins from our first three games. Oddly enough, we have already faced Dortmund and Bayern Munchen and our next three games are all away games at Italy.

Mani Billingsley already has 11 goals in 13 appearances, so he looks poised to have another 50-goal season. I'm sort of falling in love with Billingsley. I start celebrating goals when he gets the ball in dangerous position and more often than not, he finds a way to score.

Aston Villa F.C. Season 2028/29 - Q2 Report - Shaky first half of the season

I guess deep down I knew that after winning the treble last season, it would be hard to match the heroics this time around. Of course I wanted to bring home the major trophies yet again but the minimum goal was to put in a serious title challenge in Premier League and in UCL and win atleast one of the trophies again.

Premier League

The first 9 games didn't went that well and sadly the following 9 games were more of the same, although we improved a bit as we currently have a record of 10-6-3 and are 4th on the league table 8 points behing the league leading Manchester United.

We are the 2nd best team in both xG for and xG against statistics and only marginally behing the leaders on both categories, so its fair to say that we'd deserve to be little higher than in 4th place, but it is what it is I guess.

We've had bad luck with injuries and suspensios as all three of our starting attackers in Billingsley, Joao Pedro and Endrick have missed games for one reason or the other. Billingsley hasn't taken much bookings despite his aggression of 19 but he got sent of at 33rd minute against Liverpool with a straigth red card and received an additional two-game-ban for his tackle as well.

Joao Pedro and Endrick were already injured at time, so we had to use Aljo Malbašić as our main scoring option. He isn't a bad player but this is his first season outside of the Czech 1st division, so we have been forced to ask him bit too much and bit too early.

I think it will be very difficult to win back to back PL titles after the 1st half of the season that we have had. Statistically we have been performing better than our competitors but we have dropped too many points already and in order to push ManU for the title, we'd need to go on a 10 game winning streak, which is possible but perhaps not likely.

Champions League

The injuries and suspensions have had an effect for our UCL campaign as well. The Italian tour started with goalless draw against AS Roma and cotinued with 2-0 loss against AC Milan. At least we managed to beat Inter and with two home games remaining against smaller teams we should achieve a top 8 finish in the League Phase as we are currently sitting on an 8th position.

General thoughts

Injuries and bad luck has affected our season but I think I should have spent more money on the summer. In one of my best saves ever I won the PL and UCL multiple times in a row with Ipswich Town and every season I replaced the worst player in the team with the best possible player I could get and improved the squad that way. I might try the same method with Aston Villa and try to make some signings in January.

I think we are still poised to make a deep run at UCL and could still push for the title in Premier League, so nothing has been lost yet.

I have forgot to mention this but we are currently in a process of building a new stadium with the capacity of 64,742 seats. The new stadium should be ready in two years.
Our players finally got some worldwide recognition as well, as Billingsley won the FIFPRO Player of the Year award and was selected to the World XI alongside Luca Netz.

Elsewhere Riccardo Battisti became the 4th consecutive Golden Boy award winner from Aston Villa.

I signed Battisti from the Uruguyan side Club Nacional de Football for £4m to play as a Right Winger for us, but more recently he has been deployed upfront as a part of front two. The Montevideo (Uruguay) born player has Italy as his second nationalituy.

Aston Villa F.C. Season 2028/29 - Q3 Report - We are on a roll baby!

Let's start by looking what we did on January's transfer window as we made some significant transfers this time around.

Our first January signing was a 22-year-old Welshman Tom Fleming, who we signed from Manchester United for whopping £66m. I reckon I overspent on him, but we have the moolah, so I don't mind spending it. Fleming is a fast and technically gifted winger who is also capable of playing upfront. With a determination of 20, I believe he can still improve quite a bit.

I also finally signed Xavi Simons, who I've looked to sign for few years but for one reason or the other didn't finish the deal until now. The 25-year-old midfielder maestro has dominated Eredivisie in PSV for 7 years and it was time for him to move to bigger team. Simons is an extremely intelligent player who is also very capable player technically. He set us back for £73m.

I also signed two youngsters who will join us later on the road, so more on them on the future should they crack the first team.

Leon Bailey was sold to Southampton for £20m and Esmond Tabsoba to Real Madrid for £45m as both have fallen down on the pecking order and only had 1,5 season left on their expensive contracts.

Profiles of the signed players below:

Premier League

Since the last update we have played 10 games on the Premier League with a record of 9-1-0, so we have been on a heater!

I have switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 diamond and I think that's the main reason behind our great run. Many teams had reacted to our improved stature in the game by using formations such as 5-3-2 against us and I feel that a two striker formation counters that better than a 4-3-3.

Billingsley is still the main scorer and Endrick & Joao Pedro link up quite nicely on their roles. After a slow start Endrick has 11+4 in 28 PL games meanwhile Joao Pedro has 13+5 in 22 apps. By comparison Billingsley has 16+5 in 26 apps, so the goals has been spread around more evenly this time around.

We have only conceded once in 10 games, so the defence is working rather well too. The system does well in limiting the oppostions chances and the oppostion is largely forced to take shots outside of the penatly box and even then they are under pressure.

As you can see, we have beaten teams like Arsenal and Manchester City, so its not like we are only playing against bad sides either.

Thanks to our great form we are leading the league by 2 points and have one game less than some of our main competitors.

We'll face Liverpool H, Tottenham A, Chelsea A and Newcastle A in our next 5 games and if we can continue our strong form in these games, we are in a strong position to win our 2nd PL title in a row. But its a big IF at the moment, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Champions League

We managed to beat Partizan and Galatasaray in our remaining two League Phase games as expected.

On a round of 16 phase we were drawn against Napoli, who were 3rd placed team in the last season's Serie A and were 7th in time of facing us. We managed to beat them 3-0 at the away game as Billingsley scored a hat-trick and the tie was largely over after one game. We finihsed the job at Villa Park by beating Napoli 5-2 and are currently waiting who we will be facing in quarter-finals.

Domestic Cups

I haven't spoken much about the domestic cups, but that's not because we are performing badly in them, quite the opposite actually.

Our next game is the EFL Cup Final against Manchester United and we have progressed to the FA Cup quarter-finals as well, where we will be facing Newcastle.

At the moment we are on a 27-game unbeaten streak in all competitions with a record of a 23-4-0. I was right not to over react to poor start for the season and it looks like the underlying numbers were a better indicator of our level than the actual points.

We need to stay hungry and focused but at the moment things are looking very positive for us and it looks like we'll be serious contenders for the major trophies and we could even win every competition we have participated in this season!
Really enjoying reading this, would also love to know how you found that striker. Finding regen finding harder on this FM.
2022-12-11 11:55#290964 ImDonkey : Really enjoying reading this, would also love to know how you found that striker. Finding regen finding harder on this FM.

Thanks for the great feedback ImDonkey!

Yeah, I agree its harder to find wonderkids than before and there seems to be fewer of them in general.

I've found wonderkids by scouting the youth teams of nations that generate good regens. In South America these are Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay etc. and in Europe England, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy etc. You could also scout youth teams of teams that have good youth intakes, like Fotballklubben Bodø/Glimt in Norway, RB Salzburg in Austria or Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.

It takes like 10-15 minutes to assign your scouts to do this but I only do it twice a year, so its not too bad. And pay special attention players who are playing with older players than they could play with. For example, if there is a 16-year-old kid in U21 team, he might be a real deal.

I think Billingsley and Loder caught my attention as they were playing in older youth teams than they could have played for.
Aston Villa F.C. Season 2028/29 - End of the season report - I jinxed it...

Last time we were on a roll but sadly the tables turned immediatly after writing the last update.

We continued our journey by losing our next two games which were the EFL Cup final and the FA Cup semi-final. I changed nothing on my tactics but we were dominated in these games after going 27 games unbeaten just a moment ago.

I don't know if this is what the devs said when they told that the AI managers are better at reacting to human managers' tactics but this doesn't seem that realistic at all. In real life managers have tried to solve out teams like Manchester City for years and they haven't been able to do it. But in FM it seems like you go from winning streaks to losing streaks by a flick of a switch and that's just stupid in my opinion.

The poor form continued in league as our record from the remaining 9 games was 2-4-3. And prior to this run we were dominating our opponents and conceded 1 goal in the last 10 games going 9-1-0. My team might be inconsistent but I think this is just stupid. Am I supposed to change the tactics after every ten games even if we just went 10-0-0?

After all we became 4th so the disaster was avoided but I'm not happy. I don't like to criticise the game but I don't know what to say.

Champions League

We got Barca at the quarter-final phase and we managed to beat them with relative ease. We managed to win the away game 0-2 and although the result flattered us, we were still the better team and the 4-0 win at the home game proved just that.

On the semi-finals we were matched against Manchester City while the other semi-final matchup was Liverpool - Real Madrid. We were performing very poorly at the time, so I thought we needed to be lucky to beat City. We were out of the title race at PL as well, so after a great season, the UCL would be the only major trophy we could win.

The first game at Etihad didn't start well as Bernardo Silva scored early in the game. We managed to equalise before the break but Haaland scored twice on the 2nd half and we lost 1-3.

I didn't have high hopes for our home game, but we never give up and this is our only chance to win anything worth mentioning this season, so we'll give it our all. I started the home game with 4-3-3 formation opposed to our usual 4-4-2 diamond formation but we didn't create too much at all on the first half. I ramped up the pressure for the 2nd half and went with more attacking style. We had a quick goal from Joao Pedro early on and then scored twice later on the 2nd half to win the tie! As you can see from the match stats, it was an even game and we shouldn't have won that game 3-0, but I'm not complaining.

So, we were heading to the final where we would face Liverpool. Thanks to our poor form at the league I didn't know what to expect from this game and as the goal for the season was to win a major trophy, it was all about the UCL final, so we had to win this game.

Perhaps as an act of desperation I started the game with 4-2-3-1 formation which we hadn't used at all during the season. The plan didn't work out that well as Vlahovic scored twice for Liverpool but Mudryk's goal kept us in the game as we headed to HT losing 1-2. I went back to narrow 4-4-2 for 2nd half and Billingsley managed to equalise the score shortly after the break. Late in the game Rice missed a header on Liverpool's penalty box, which allowed Billingsley to pass the ball to Xavi SImons who blasted it to the upper corner of LFC's net and we were leading 3-2! Kvaratskhelia scored for Liverpool on the added time but the goal was ruled out as offside and we won the final 3-2, yay!

Goal for the season was achieved but I'm not too happy about the season. I think we were screwed over by the game itself.

Player stats for the season

First of all, thank you for everybody for voting this story for the story of the month!

As stated before, it makes a great difference on my writing motivation when I know that somebody actually reads this stuff.

Aston Villa F.C. Season 2029/30 - The Summer of 2029

The emotions were running hot after the last season even though the season ended in UCL victory, which of course is a great achievement. I felt I got cheated by the system, so this time around I'll leave nothing chance.

I think that the FM23 system learns my tactics and after a short spell of domination our form turns completely, which has prevented us from getting 90+ seasons in the Premier League. To combat this, I'll start the season with three tactics, which I will utilise depending on the opposition.

The first tactic is the narrow 442 formation we used on last season. I think this will be our co-main tactic. The attacking trio offers a great deal of threat and this tactic will probably be used against the teams with three central defenders.

Our second co-main tactic is the tactic I used way back on season 1 with Aston Villa. The Pep Guardiola inspired 4-3-3 aims to take a control of a mach and frustrate opponents with posession. Ih theory, opponent's defenders will be busy dealing with our three attackers, which should allow the two central midfielders and attacking wing back to make runs that they simply can't defend. Right wing back is set for IWB (D) which offers some balance for the team.

Our third tactic is something completely different. This is a Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid inspired 4-4-2 tactic, which I used way back in FMWhenEverAtletico was cool for the first time. This tactic will be used for the rare occasion in which the opponent is likely to have more posession than ourselves. The tactic aims to form two lines of four which will be sitting compactly in our own area. The play will be forced to outside where we can apply pressure to opponents wide players and force them to put in crosses, which our defenders should be able to clear with relative ease. We'll use the wingers as a main creative sources for the team while the attackers will be responsible for scoring goals.

I have tried all the tactics during our pre-season and they seem to be working well. I think that especially the last tactic is a work in progress and we'll tailor the roles on a go if needed.

The summer transfers

I didn't make many moves over the summer. I have scouted quite a few players, but I don't think there are too many players that instantly improve us. I signed few youngsters who could be first team players for us in the future but I sent them on loans to develope.

I received £100m+ offers for Billngsley, Endrick and Loder but there is no reason to sell them because there simply isn't better players available.

One player who will join our team is Assan Ouédraogo, who I signed way back in 2024/25 season from Schalke 04 for £10,5m. He has enjoyed successful loan spells at RB Salzburg, Middlesbrough and Real Sociedad and he is now ready to join our first team. I think he is quite an unique package of skills and physicality. I'll use him at CM (A) or SS (A) and I expect him to get few goals for us with his great shooting.

Aston Villa F.C. Season 2029/30 - Halfway season report

I've been feeling little under the weather lately, so apologies for not posting recently.

The series is still going strong and we have played the first 19 PL games of the 2029/30 season. I have to say that the three tactic system didn't work out with those tactics. I think the 2nd and 3rd tactics were too different from the first one what it comes to instructions and such. I'm instead using a 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 systems with similar instructions than what you can see in the 4-4-2 narrow.

We had a mixed start for the season and our first real dissappointment came as early as in the 2nd game when we lost against Norwich. We also dropped points against Liverpool and Manchester City early on but we have found a nice form afterwards and are currently leading the league after collecting 44 points from the first 19 games. That's still not a 90 point pace but its 8 points more what we had last season at the same stage.

Champions League

Our form in the UCL has been as strong as usual. We have enjoyed large wins in all games except one which we lost against Leipzig. With two home games against lesser opponents we should achieve a top 8 finish in League Phase with ease.

I guess we are more or less on auto-pilot at this stage. Billingsley got angry early in the season as I didn't sell him to Liverpool and he is still angry about it. His performances have been good but not out of the world like before. Our other attackers have performed well and the goals have been distributed evenly.

Thuram and Mitchell have informed us that they want to move for a new challenge and I can grant that wish in January if we receive a decent offers for them. I have couple of good youngsters on loan at other clubs and I can recall them to replace these players if needed.

You are reading "Aston Villa F.C. - Looking for direction".

FMS Chat

hey, just wanted to let you know that we have a fb style chat for our members. login or sign up to start chatting.