By the end of the 2007-08 season, Aston Villa, under the guidance of Martin O’Neil, finished sixth, guiding the midlands team into the dizzy heights of Europe. Eight years later, Villa found themselves rooted at the bottom of the Premier League and were relegated to the Championship.
A mediocre first season in the second-tier is now behind them, and with a talented group blending experience and youth at your helm, can you guide the club back up to the Premier League and into Europe’s elite on FIFA 18’s Career Mode?
Aston Villa have a 3 ½ star rating in FIFA 18 with a 73 overall. Each of their attack, midfield and defence ratings are 73.
Aston Villa possess a highly balanced team and relative to the other teams in the championship, they have fantastic strength and depth in each position. The 4-2-3-1 wide provides more defensive stability but against weaker opposition, you may want to consider the 4-3-3 attack to make the most of your pacey wingers and creative spine.
Sam Johnstone starts between the sticks, whilst a flat four of former Premier League defenders lie in front in the form of Neil Taylor, James Chester, John Terry and Ahmed Elmohamady. However, be warned that starting centre backs Terry (33 acceleration) and Chester (68 acceleration) lack pace and so be cautious in playing a high defensive line.
A highly experienced pair of Mile Jedinak and Conor Hourihane lie in defensive midfield with Robert Snodgrass and Albert Adomah on the flanks
Ahead of them is Jack Grealish in the attacking midfield and Jonathan Kodjia leading the line.
On the bench you will want Mark Bunn, Axel Tuanzebe, Alan Hutton, Glenn Whelan, Henri Lansbury, Birkir Bjarnason and Ross McCormack.
Aston Villa's strength lies out wide. Albert Adomah (88 sprint speed) provides pace down the left, whilst Robert Snodgrass (81 crossing) provides great technical ability on the other flank. Get the ball to these two and you will be create chances.
If it isn’t working out wide, look to play balls over the top to Jonathan Kodjia (83 sprint speed).
Training provides you with the opportunity to improve your players every week, especially those who are not receiving regular football. Look to use the high growth players to make the most of your time, and at Aston Villa these include Jack Grealish, Andre Green, Josh Onomah and Axel Tuanzebe.
The transfer market
Starting transfer budget: £17 million
Starting wage budget: £72,000 a week
Who should go
Aston Villa have a strong squad, and you will no doubt be targeting to get out of the Championship and into the Premier League. You cannot afford to carry some of the weaker members of the squad, and you should look to seel them immediately. The highest profile name is Gabriel Agbonlahor, who has been at Villa since 2005. The former captain is aging and at 30 and with an overall of 69, you should look to sell him for around £700,000, freeing up £20,000 a week in your wage budget.
Alan Hutton has been a great servant for the club also, but with another right back likely to be on your shopping list and a number of players able to play there at Villa Park, you can shift the Scotsman on. The former Spurs defender will get you around £1 million and save £20,000 a week in wages.
Finally Jed Steer is the third choice goalkeeper at the club, and to save cash you get rid of him. His 65 overall can only reach 71, so it makes sense to sell him for close to £500,000 and £5,000 a week on wages.
Who to sign
New transfer budget: £19 million
New wage budget: £117,000 a week
Although Ahmed Elmohamady’s ability is perfect for the Championship, he does lack pace. If you get Aston Villa promoted, he may struggle to compete with wingers in the Premier League.
If you are looking for a replacement, go for the Argentine Fabricio Bustos from Independiente. Bustos has attributes of 86 acceleration, 85 stamina and 82 sprint speed, and the right back can improve from 71 to an 85 potential. You should be able to pick him up for £7.5 million and wages upwards of £14,000.
- Nico Elvedi – Borussia Monchengladbach, Age 20, OVR 76, POT 83, Cost: £10 million, Wage: £23,000
- Jose Luis Gomez – Atletico Lanus, Age 23, OVR 76, POT 81, Cost: £9 million, Wage: £14,000
- Lekue – Athletic Bilbao, Age 24, OVR 75, POT 81, Cost: £11 million, Wage: £18,000
- Dion Cools – Age 21, OVR 73, POT 81, Cost: £8 million, Wage: £15,000
- Almamy Toure – Age 21, OVR 73, POT 80, Cost: £7.5 million, Wage: £19,000
In a similar vein to Robert Snodgrass, Albert Adomah is aged 30 and although at his peak, he will soon drop off. A permanent younger star is needed to provide cover for the next year in the championship before hopefully becoming a mainstay in the coming years.
Your main target should be Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, who has scored 14 goals this season for Fulham. You will need to match his £10.4 million release clause however, but it's worth it to see his 71 overall reach an 87 potential. The 17-year-old's best stats include 85 balance, 84 sprint speed and 81 acceleration, but expect his £17,000 a week wages to improve.
- Oscar Pinchi - Deportivo La Coruna, Age 21, OVR 70, POT 82, Cost: £5 million, Wage: £12,000
- Lucas Rodriguez - Estudiantes, Age 20, OVR 71, POT 82, Cost: £5 million, Wage: £9,000
- Erick Aguirre - Pachuca, Age 20, OVR 71, POT 82, Cost: £5.5 million, Wage: £14,000
- Christopher Nkunku - PSG, Age 19, OVR 71, POT 81, Cost: £7.5 million, Wage: £31,000
- Jeremie Boga - Birmingham, Age 20, OVR 71, POT 81, Cost: £6 million, Wage: £14,000
Six players at Aston Villa have contracts running out at the end of the season, and you should look to renew three of them. John Terry may be 36, but with a 76 overall you will want to keep him before the end of the season. Callum O'Hare is a promising youngster who can grow to a 76 overall, so issue him with a three-year deal, and Mark Bunn could be your only goalkeeper at the start of next season.
It is unlikely that you will need Christopher Samba in a year's time, and you should be looking to sell on Alan Hutton and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Given the relative stature of Aston Villa, the board are clearly keen for you to return Aston Villa to their previous heights. Domestic success is of critical importance and for this you need win the league and reach the round of 32 in the FA Cup. The league is vital and whilst a cup run is wanted by the board, they will look past this if you win the title.
Financial objectives are of high importance. You must keep salary growth under 10%, so keep an eye on your finances this season. In the long term, the board want you to increase the club worth by 30%. If you win promotion, this will take care of itself.
Brand exposure, although of high priority, should be easy to complete and only requires you to gain £13.2 million from shirt sales in the first season.
Youth development is of a medium priority and the board want you to sign an academy player and have him play 50% of the games next season.
In your first-year at the Villa, the team should be good enough to secure promotion but the challenge comes after that. The fight for survival in the Premier League in 12 months’ time will be tough and will require a certain skill and tactical astuteness. If you get past the jump, you can rebuild and perhaps start to dream of European football and silverware, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the midlands for over a decade.
Aston Villa squad ratings
|Player||Age||Pos.||Country ||OVR/ POT||Cost ||Wage|
|Sam Johnstone||24||GK||England||73/ 81||£4.4m||£65k|
|Mark Bunn||32||GK||England||71/ 71||£1.4m||£19K|
|Jed Steer||24||GK||England||65/ 71||£550k||£6k|
|John Terry||36||CB||England||76/ 76||£1m||£27k|
|James Chester||28||CB||Wales||75/ 76||£6m||£34k|
|Axel Tuanzebe||19||CB RB||England||73/ 84||£6m||£44k|
|Neil Taylor||28||LB||Wales||72/ 72||£2.5m||£24k|
|Ahmed Elmohamady||29||RB||Egypt||72/ 72||£2.4m||£24k|
|Micah Richards||29||CB RB||England||71/ 71||£1.8m||£24k|
|Alan Hutton||32||RB LB||Scotland||71/ 71||£1.3m||£23k|
|Christopher Samba||33||CB||Congo||71/ 71||£950k||£23k|
|James Bree||19||RB||England||64/ 79||£875k||£5k|
|Robert Snodgrass||29||RM LM||Scotland||75/ 75||£6.5m||£79k|
|Albert Adomah||30||LM RM||Ghana||75/ 75||£6.5m||£37k|
|Conor Hourihane||26||CM CDM||Ireland||74/ 75||£6.5m||£35k|
|Jack Grealish||21||CAM LM CM||England||73/ 82||£6m||£27k|
|Mile Jedinak||32||CDM CM||Australia||73/ 73||£2.3m||£32k|
|Henri Lansbury||26||CM CDM CAM||England||72/ 73||£3.6m||£25k|
|Glenn Whelan||33||CDM CM||Ireland||72/ 72||£1.3m||£23k|
|Joshua Onomah||20||CAM RM CM||England||71/ 83||£4.2m||£39k|
|Birkir Bjarnason||29||LM CAM RM||Iceland||71/ 71||£2.3m||£26k|
|Andre Green||18||LM||England||68/ 84||£1.8m||£12k|
|Callum O’Hare||19||CAM||England||57/ 76||£220k||£3k|
|Jonathan Kodjia||27||ST||Ivory Coast||75/ 75||£7m||£38K|
|Ross McCormack||30||ST||Scotland||72/ 72||£3m||£27K|
|Scott Hogan||25||ST||Ireland||71/ 75||£3.1m||£26k|
|Lewis Grabban||29||ST||England||71/ 71||£2.4m||£45k|
|Gabby Agbonlahor||30||ST||England||69/ 69||£1m||£23k|
|Keinan Davis||19||ST||England||64/ 77||£850k||£7k|
|Rushian Hepburn-Murphy||18||ST||England||61/ 75||£525k||£4k|
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