Aston Villa

In Profile: Monday's Visitors, Aston Villa

Leicester City host Aston Villa as Premier League football returns to King Power Stadium on Monday night (8pm GMT kick-off).
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The Foxes, unbeaten in their last four league outings against Villa (W3, D1), have already defeated the Midlands outfit 4-1 at Villa Park in the Premier League this season. 

Ahead of Monday evening’s game, LCFC.com profiles the away side by taking a closer look at their history, management and current first team squad…

The manager

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Dean Smith
Dean Smith

The 5-1 triumph over Norwich City was Villa's biggest league win under the management of Dean Smith.

During a career that spanned across three decades, Dean Smith made over 500 appearances as a centre-back, representing five clubs in the process.

Smith made his debut for Walsall in 1989, before going on to play for Hereford United, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale, where he retired in 2005.

He then returned to Walsall in 2011 to take charge of the Saddlers, who he managed for four years and won two League 1 Manager of the Month accolades.

In November, 2015, he was appointed manager of Championship outfit Brentford, who he guided to two ninth and one 10th-placed finish before moving to Aston Villa.

Smith took over at Villa Park in October 2018, and in the same season gained promotion after winning the Championship Play-Offs thanks to a 2-1 victory over Derby County in the final.

Smith has masterminded some memorable Premier League results, including a 5-1 win over Norwich City and a 2-2 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Villa currently occupy 19th place in the table and are two points from safety with 11 games to go.  

The squad

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Pepe Reina
Pepe Reina

Experienced goalkeeper Pepe Reina joined the club in the January transfer window.

Following season-ending knee injuries for No.9 Wesley and goalkeeper Tom Heaton, Villa moved to strengthen their squad in the January transfer window.

In came experienced Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina, well-known to the Premier League from his time at Liverpool, on a deal until the end of the season from AC Milan.

Tanzanian forward Mbwana Samatta also joined from Belgian side Genk for a reported £10M, and Borja Baston made the move to Villa Park from Swansea City, to further bolster Dean Smith's attacking options. 

In midfield, former Fox and Premier League winner Danny Drinkwater joined on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season, having spent the first half of the campaign at Burnley. 

Villa’s squad also includes summer signings Tyrone Mings, Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba. 

Captain Jack Grealish is the side's top scorer, netting nine times in all competitions this season, as well as contributing with eight assists - more than any other Villa player. 

He is closely followed by Conor Hourihane (seven goals), while Wesley and Anwar El Ghazi both have six goals to their name in 2019/20. 

The trophy cabinet

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Peter Withe
Peter Withe

Peter Withe scored the only goal of the game to help Aston Villa beat Bayern Munich in 1982.

Aston Villa have enjoyed a successful history in the game, having won seven top-flight titles and as many FA Cups.

They have also won five League Cups, two more than Leicester, with their 1996 title proving to be their most recent major honour.

Away from domestic achievements, they lifted the European Cup in 1981 after a famous 1-0 win over Bayern Munich thanks to Peter Withe's solitary effort in Rotterdam, before going on to beat Barcelona to claim the European Super Cup.

The stadium

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Villa Park
Villa Park

Villa's 42,000 capacity stadium is the eighth largest in the Premier League

With a capacity of just over 42,000, Villa Park is the 11th-largest stadium in England and has been the home of Aston Villa since 1897.

Villa Park has hosted an incredible 55 FA Cup Semi-Finals, the most of any stadium, and has also seen England play there on 16 occasions.

In addition, the last ever UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final was played out there in 1999, when Lazio beat Mallorca 2-1 after goals from Christian Vieri and Pavel Nedvěd.

The fixtures

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Borja Baston
Borja Baston

Villa were beaten 2-0 by the Saints in their last Premier League outing at St. Mary's.

Dean Smith's men suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Southampton in their last league encounter, to leave the team in the relegation zone. 

Following Monday night's game at King Power Stadium, Villa welcome Chelsea to Villa Park on Saturday 14 March, ahead of the final international break of the season. 

Villa's penultimate fixture of the campaign sees Arsenal visit the second city, before the curtain comes down on the Villains' season away at West Ham United on 17 May. 

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