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Opinion: These 3 key stars will be pivotal in Aston Villa surviving the Premier League pressure next season

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Aston Villa opinion: 3 players who will be pivotal in Villa’s PL return

Aston Villa saw off West Bromwich Albion and Derby County in the playoffs to make a much-awaited return to the Premier League. Dean Smith’s side deserved to win all three games in the playoffs despite the semi-finals going into penalties.

The Villans, at one point, looked unlikely to even make it into the top-six but an unbelievable run of results in the last 12 games of the season brought them back to where they belong. Villa will now need another similar run to have a good season back in the top-flight and Dean Smith will need to work his magic all over again.

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The Villans have a very good squad but the biggest blow will be if they fail to retain the services of Tammy Abraham. The youngster was Villa’s top scorer and one of the biggest reasons why they returned to the top-flight but Dean Smith will have to make do without him next season.

Here are three players, other than Abraham, who will be highly important for Villa in the Premier League next season.

Jack Grealish

Villa’s homegrown hero, Jack Grealish, will have a huge part to play for Villa next season, just like he did last term. The 23-year-old scored 6 goals and provided 8 more assists in all competitions last season and Villa will be hoping that he can carry on his form in the Premier League.

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Grealish has had decent experience in the Premier League but the biggest difference this time around is his maturity. The Villa sensation has grown a lot over the last two years and if he can hit the ground running, Villa can be confident of having a good season.

John McGinn

The Scottish international was relatively unheard of when he joined Villa last summer but he has enhanced his reputation massively in England. McGinn scored nine goals and provided 12 assists in all competitions last season, including the winner against Derby in the playoff final.

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McGinn will surely be looking to carry his form into his first season in the Premier League. A midfield trio of himself, Grealish and Hourihane could potentially carry the Villans into safety next season.

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Anwar El Ghazi

The Dutchman’s loan deal initially looked like a bad move but once he adapted to the physicality of the English game, he turned out to be a completely different player.

El Ghazi scored the opener in the playoff final at Wembley, which proved to be of massive importance as Villa returned to the Premier League.

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Villa confirmed the signing of El Ghazi on a permanent deal last week and the former Ajax man will be able to show what he is capable of on the big stage next season.

El Ghazi’s pace and dribbling skills down the flanks will be extremely important for the Villans and the fans will be hoping that he will continue his form from the end of last campaign.