After half a season to assess his squad, Steven Gerrard will feel that a top-half finish will be the minimum requirement in his first full campaign as Aston Villa boss.
Gerrard took over in November following a successful spell in Scotland with Rangers, but could not establish the same consistency he had enjoyed at Ibrox.
The 42-year-old won 10 of his 27 games, while also drawing five. However, it is the 12 defeats that will have caused him the most concern and he has wasted little time in trying to improve his team's chances.
Villa, 8/11 to finish in the top half, have made seven additions and Gerrard is likely to be hunting for more new faces as he aims for a European push.
England Premier League 2022/23
5th August 2022 - 28th May 2023
|How to watch|
Selected matches broadcast on Sky, BT Sport and Amazon Prime
|Odds||Manchester City 4/7, Liverpool 2/1, Tottenham 14/1, Chelsea 16/1, Manchester United 33/1|
Gerrard didn't hide his frustration at Villa's inconsistency last season and as well as adding a number of signings, he has also trimmed some of the players he felt were surplus to requirements.
Reinforcing his defence with the signing of Diego Carlos from Sevilla appears a very shrewd move, the Brazilian having formed a fine partnership with Jules Kounde during his three years at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The Villans have also added left-back Ludwig Augustinsson on loan from Los Rojiblancos as back-up to Lucas Digne, following Matt Targett's permanent move to Newcastle United, while Boubacar Kamara's arrival from Marseille looks to be an upgrade in midfield.
With Philippe Coutinho also through the door following his successful loan from Barcelona, the potential is there for Villa to have a strong campaign with a top-10 finish within their grasp.
In contrast, after failing to win any of their last four to come home 14th in 2021/22, another bottom half showing at 1/1 could potentially see the boss out of a job.
However, Gerrard never settled for second best during his playing career and with the uncertainty caused by the timing of the World Cup, will be preparing his team for a European push.
The former England captain will be determined to bring continental football back to Villa Park, with a top-six finish 5/1 and Champions League qualification 16/1.
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Aston Villa begin their campaign on 6th August away at Bournemouth, with them 5/4 to take the points. The draw is 5/2 and the newly-promoted Cherries are available at 2/1.
Villa won at the Vitality Stadium on the opening day of the 2015/16 campaign when substitute Rudy Gestede's 72nd-minute header split the sides.
A repeat 1-0 win for the away side is 15/2, but for those looking for an omen, a positive start may not be great for Villa, as they went down that same season.
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There is sure to be focus on Villa's second game of the season when Everton visit on 13th August. The home side are 10/11 to win that Gerrard-Frank Lampard duel.
In a packed August they also take on Crystal Palace, West Ham and Arsenal and begin September at home to Manchester City.
The Villans' last game before the break for the World Cup sees them head to Brighton on 12th November, while they return on Boxing Day at home to Gerrard's former club Liverpool.
Those games also double up for Villa's final two matches, with Anfield the destination on the penultimate week, before Brighton visit B6 on the final day, which is 28th May.
Few fans will need an introduction to Steven Gerrard, with his exploits for Liverpool legendary, while he also won 114 caps for England.
Gerrard enjoyed a successful first managerial stint at Rangers, most notably breaking Celtic's run of nine straight titles by topping the standings in 2020/21, before replacing Dean Smith last November.
The 42-year-old has displayed some nice tactical touches in the dugout and will feel he can do more with his side after being given money to spend already this summer.
Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona)
Boubacar Kamara (Marseille)
Diego Carlos (Sevilla)
Robin Olsen (Roma)
Rory Wilson (Rangers)
Ludwig Augustinsson (Sevilla, Loan)
Ewan Simpson (Hearts)
Indiana Vassilev (Inter Miami, Loan)
Matt Targett (Newcastle)
Conor Hourihane (Derby)
Lovre Kalinic (Hajduk Split)
Viljami Sinisalo (Burton, Loan)
Finn Azaz (Plymouth, Loan)
Louie Barry (MK Dons, Loan)
Wesley (Levante, Loan)
Jaden Philogene-Bidace (Cardiff, Loan)
Carney Chukwuemeka (Chelsea)
Aaron Ramsey (Norwich, Loan)
|Star player||John McGinn|
|Potential top scorer||Danny Ings/Ollie Watkins|
|Exciting youngster||Jacob Ramsey|
Midfielder John McGinn has only improved since Gerrard's arrival and both coach and player will see him as the man who can drive the team forward, especially after being handed the captaincy.
McGinn's delivery from wide, eye for goal and ability to inspire his team-mates has been pivotal for both club and country over the last 18 months and at 27, he only looks like getting better.
They also have potential goal threats in England duo Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins. Ings' seven goals in 30 matches last season was surpassed by Watkins' 11 in 35.
The pair seemed to gel as the season went on and with Coutinho's creativity behind them, both could enjoy fine seasons and are 80/1 and 66/1, respectively, to be the Premier League's top goalscorer.
While Emiliano Martinez, Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa form a fine rearguard, it is going forward where Villa's quality lies and Jacob Ramsey supplements those ahead of him from midfield.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2021/22, making 34 league appearances and is only going to get better.
Villa may not have as many players heading to Qatar as some of their rivals and that may work to their advantage once the season resumes.
Martinez looks set to start in goal for Argentina, while Douglas Luiz and Coutinho will both be hoping to play for Brazil.
Digne and Kamara were both in France's squad for the June internationals and will be desperate to keep their places, while 25/1 Konsa, 1/1 Mings, 12/1 Ings and 4/1 Watkins will also be pushing for roles in Gareth Southgate's England party.
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