Aston Villa Return to Champions League for First Time Since 1982

Aston Villa have secured a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League after Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 defeat against Manchester City. The result leaves Villa five points clear of fifth-place Tottenham with one game remaining.

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This will be Villa’s first appearance in Europe’s premier club competition since the 1982-83 season, when they won the European Cup (now known as the Champions League) by defeating Bayern Munich in the final.

Villa ensured Spurs would need to beat City on Tuesday to keep the race for the final Champions League spot alive, after Jhon Duran’s late brace earned them a 3-3 draw against Liverpool on Monday. However, two second-half goals from Erling Haaland sealed a 2-0 win for City, denying Spurs a place in the Champions League.

Unai Emery was appointed Villa head coach in October 2022, replacing Steven Gerrard. Under Emery’s guidance, the club climbed from 16th in the Premier League to finish the season in seventh, securing qualification for the Europa Conference League.

In his first full season in charge, Emery has now led Villa to the Champions League for the first time in 41 years. He was rewarded with a contract extension in April, keeping him at the club until 2027.

Emery has a strong record in European competitions, having won the Europa League three times with Sevilla and once with Villarreal.

Villa’s season began with a 5-1 defeat to Newcastle, but they soon found their form, recording impressive wins over Arsenal and Manchester City in December. Although unable to maintain their title challenge in the second half of the campaign, Villa remained in the Champions League spots, with striker Ollie Watkins leading the way with 19 goals and 13 assists.

Villa conclude their season against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

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