A top half finish for Aston Villa is unlikely this term, but the club is expected to enjoy a better season than last.
With the Premier League season just one week away, 13 of our football pundits have put their heads together to give you a comprehensive set of predictions.
Each pundit predicted where each Premier League club will finish the season, with 20 points for the club predicted to finish 1st, down to 1 point for the club finishing bottom.
We then added up all the points and:
Verdict Aston Villa will finish 10th
Highest prediction: 9th / Lowest prediction: 15th
Dan Coombs: 9th - Keeping Christian Benteke will prove vital to Villa's season, giving the rest of the squad belief they can push on. Young players from the NextGen sides and the returning Gary Gardner can give the squad a further boost, but they are perhaps lacking a key playmaker.
Alan Dawson: 9th - There is every chance that, having gone from relegation-threatened to safe, Villa may turn the screw further and fire their way toward the top half of the league. With their front-men, they are assured of goals.
Vincent Ralph: 10th - We saw enough from Villa at the end of last season to suggest their relegation struggles will not be repeated. Following a relegation scrap that will have only made them stronger, expect to see the Villans continue their impressive evolution.
Mathew Nash: 11th - They have kept hold of star man Christian Benteke and with that in mind I cannot see them struggling again - in fact I think they might surprise a few.
Ian Bolland: 12th - They will be a much better side than they were last season, and have the odd ‘shock’ result thrown in.
Vic Daniels: 12th - Call it the Benteke bounce, as Villa improve on last season and remain comfortable in mid-table from the first kick-off
Lewis Doe: 12th - Retaining Christian Benteke is huge for the club, and their vibrant and exciting young side should push them close to at least mid-table.
Jenny Leigh: 12th - Keeping Benteke was paramount for Lambert but I still think there is an overall lack of quality and experience in the squad. The problems with confidence will still be there, and I believe it’ll be another frustrating season for Villa, despite an improvement in their league position.
Gareth McKnight: 12th - Villas should be better than last term, and they are trying to improve with a few half-decent summer signings. Keeping Benteke is massive, but no top-half finish.
Graham Morris: 14th - Bent should be gone, and Lambert will have had another pre-season with his young charges - but I can't see better than mid table.
Callum Farrell: 15th - This young team is still developing, and it may be a few seasons before the club enjoys the benefits of pursuing youth.
Where do you believe Aston Villa will finish next season ?
image: © ell brown