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xV: Expected Villa

xV: Aston Villa’s fast start is very real — but how long can they keep it up for?

The Claret and Blues look for their fifth Premier League win on the bounce Friday night against Leeds United — and they’ve been good value for their first four.

xV: Villa’s 7–2 win over Liverpool could finally be the dawn of their “bright future”

Do Aston Villa finally have the personnel to move up the table and away from a relegation scrap? Sunday’s 7–2 thrashing of the champions suggests they might.

xV Four Thoughts: Johan Lange, Villa’s transfer budget, their summer plans and ‘Moneyball’

It’s a crucial summer for new sporting director Johan Lange and Aston Villa. Let’s talk about it a bit before it gets underway.

xV: Aston Villa need to avoid a damaging transfer saga with Jack Grealish

There are clear parallels between Wilfried Zaha and Villa’s captain — the Claret and Blues need to avoid the type of saga Crystal Palace find themselves enveloped in.

xV: Set pieces and defensive stability have Villa 90 minutes from Premier League survival

Villa’s survival hopes looked dim a couple weeks ago — but they head into Sunday’s final day as the favourites to stay up, thanks to strong play in two phases of the game.

xV: A Villa fan’s guide to West Ham United v. Watford

Aston Villa fans will have all eyes on the London Stadium tonight — but what result is best for Villa?

xV: Relegation doesn’t have to be Aston Villa’s worst-case scenario

Staring down the barrel of relegation is far from ideal, but a drop to the Championship could give Villa the chance to finally build the stable foundation they so desperately need.

xV: Villa need to take their survival push into their own hands against Manchester United

Villa’s performances have genuinely been much improved since the restart, but the final execution has been lacking. Dean Smith may need to throw the tactics back to the start of the season to get out of the bottom three.

xV: Can Aston Villa win the Premier League’s crawl away from the bottom?

Aston Villa have probably looked the best of the Premier League’s bottom five since last week’s restart — so let’s pump the brakes on assuming doom and gloom so quickly.

xV: Villa’s issues in recruitment are more nuanced than the narrative suggests

Those who criticize Villa for their net spend or for the quality of player they bought are largely ignoring important context.

xV: Thoughts on Keinan Davis’ strong performance, Villa’s set-piece mining and that referee error

xV: Aston Villa must reverse these two trends to have a shot at Premier League survival

Aston Villa haven’t had much success playing away or against top-half clubs this season. They’ll need to reverse both those figures to have a chance to hold their Premier League status.

xV: The bad news: Aston Villa are bad. The good news: So are five other teams!

Any time Aston Villa lose, it’s a harbinger of their relegation. The problem with that? There are only three relegation spots.

xV: Can Villa follow their semi-final blueprint and shock Manchester City in the League Cup final?

The way to hang with Manchester City looks an awful lot like how Villa won the two legs against Leicester City. That should give Villa fans hope as the Claret and Blues head toward Wembley.

xV: Though light, Villa’s winter transfer business still leaves them in a good place

Mbwana Samatta was Villa’s only senior permanent transfer that joined this window, but the Claret and Blues have better depth than you might think and are well-equipped for the survival push.

xV: Thoughts on Villa’s transfer policy, competition priorities, and game states

Dean Smith and the club hierarchy are in the midst of big decisions that will impact Aston Villa’s season.

xV: Villa are playing their worst football of the year at an inopportune time

The xG numbers from recent matches don’t show a good story for Dean Smith and Aston Villa — but there’s still a strong case for Smith to stay off the managerial hot seat.

xV: Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane are the duo that can carry Villa to survival

Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane combined to produce the only goal in Villa’s Boxing Day win over Norwich City. That goal continues a trend where Villa are at their best when those two play well together.

xV: Villa start a vital 50 days Saturday at Bramall Lane

Aston Villa have been pretty good against their relegation rivals and really bad against the Premier League’s big clubs. With eight of the next nine against teams from the "other 12", it’s not hyperbolic to suggest Villa’s Premier League future hinges on the next few weeks.

xV: Aston Villa can play without pressure against Liverpool

Aston Villa’s competent start to the Premier League season has put them on solid footing, which means any result against the European champions is a bonus for the club.

xV: After wins over Everton and Crewe, we’re finally starting to learn something about Villa

Villa’s first two matches didn’t give us much insight into what the team will look like this season. Their two most recent, though, have shown some potential strengths.

xV: Using game states to draw the best conclusions from the Bournemouth loss

It’s hard to properly evaluate a match when one team spends an hour down 2-0.

xV: Thoughts on squad rotation and Villa’s first ‘six-pointer’ of the year

No matter how early

xV: Villa’s bold, attack-minded philosophy could be what keeps them up

Are Dean Smith and Aston Villa naïve for thinking they can come into the Premier League and succeed playing attacking football? Or do trends show that their bold approach is the one that makes survival most likely?

xV: Putting a bow on the semi-final win as Villa move toward the final

More than a week ago now, Aston Villa punched their ticket for Wembley. This week in xV, we look back on the semi-final tie with West Bromwich Albion, where Aston Villa advanced as worthy winners.

xV: Thoughts on Conor Hourihane’s left foot and how Villa should approach the second leg

There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Aston Villa’s first-leg win over West Bromwich Albion. One of those is about how not to protect a lead when two of the best attacking teams in the league are on the pitch.

xV: Looking back at the eight minutes that turned the play-off race on its head

Aston Villa were drawing 1-1 at Hillsborough. Both Bristol City and Derby County were ahead. The Claret and Blues were set to drop out of the top six and lose control of their own destiny. In eight minutes’ time, though, everything changed.

xV: After another dominant win against a promotion rival, how far are Villa from the play-offs?

Aston Villa were 2-1 winners Saturday against Bristol City, a result that moves them into a strong position for securing a play-off spot — something they could do as early as Easter Monday.

xV: Analyzing each Championship play-off contender’s run-in

We’re getting to the business end of the season, with only a month left in the campaign. How does Villa’s run-in compare to their promotion rivals’?

xV: Dean Smith’s smart substitutions key Aston Villa’s derby win at Birmingham City

Jack Grealish is getting a lot of deserved credit for having the best day of his life Sunday, but Dean Smith made the right call at the right time to get Villa back on the front foot.

xV: Let’s make a plan to get Aston Villa back into the top six

After Villa romped over Derby County by a 4-0 score line at the weekend, everything seems possible again. Can Villa rise from 11th to a play-off spot in the last two months of the season?

xV: The stats don’t lie — yes, Jack Grealish really is a unique and incredible talent

There are plenty who try to discredit Jack Grealish, and they typically point to his goal and assist numbers. But those who do completely miss the numbers that show what makes Grealish one the Championship’s best players.