Tim Sherwood
Tim Sherwood has watched three key players leave Villa this summerGetty

Last season

Premier League: 17th

FA Cup: Runners-up

League Cup: Second round

Top scorer: Christian Benteke (15)

Summer work

Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke have moved on to Manchester City and Liverpool respectively, leaving Villa with some gaping holes to fill in their side. To their credit, the club have been decisive in their efforts to just that. Idrissa Gueye comes into that vacant midfield role, while Jordan Ayew and Rudy Gestede will be expected to provide some of that missing firepower. A revitalised Emmanuel Adebayor working under Tim Sherwood would aid that process further.

Micah Richards and Frenchman Jordan Amavi come in at the back, while France Under-21 international Jordan Veretout boosts their options in midfield. Scott Sinclair made his loan stay at the club permanent at the beginning of the summer, while Spaniard Jose Angel Crespo gives Sherwood another option in defence. Those losses could mean a long season for the Midlands club, though, with Tom Cleverley and Ron Vlaar also no longer part of the set up at Villa Park.

Manager – Tim Sherwood

Sherwood was a breath of fresh air around Villa Park last season, easing the club's relegation woes and inspiring their enthralling FA Cup run. He has shown a knack for that, with the start to his five-month spell in charge of Tottenham going rather well before turning rather sour towards the end. Sherwood's relentless enthusiasm and self-styled motivational techniques are his biggest merits and he will have to ensure the effects of those do not burn out.

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish will continue to be Villa's catalyst this seasonGetty

Key player – Jack Grealish

After a quiet getaway in Tenerife in the summer, Grealish will be ready to take on more responsibility this season. Given a free role by Sherwood in the second half of last season, the fleet-footed 19-year-old thrived in the first team and is capable of enjoying the sort of meteoric rise Harry Kane rode last season.

Expectations

While Villa have added to their numbers, the loss of the three players – Cleverley, Benteke and Delph – who were so central to their improved form last season cannot be underestimated. Their new arrivals, Senegal international Gueye in particular, will have to adapt swiftly to ensure the club do not find themselves in another dogfight next May.

IBT prediction: 15th

Grealish, Sherwood and a swift impact from the new faces can ensure steady progress at Villa Park.