Aston Villa are definitely the team to fear going into the play-offs, with Dean Smith’s men establishing themselves as one of the best sides in the Championship over the last month.
The Villans’ bid for promotion looked dead and buried at the beginning March, but 11 games later, they have picked up 10 wins and have propelled themselves firmly into the top six.
Villa look a completely different team compared to that of when Steve Bruce was in charge, with Smith’s men looking solid in each department, especially in defence.
Tyrone Mings has been influential since his loan move from AFC Bournemouth, whilst another loanee in Axel Tuanzebe is continuing to impress during his stay in the West Midlands.
The 21-year old has really stepped up to the plate over the last few weeks, forming a formidable partnership with Mings in defence, conceding just two goals in their last four league games.
And, after such an impressive time on loan at Villa Park over the last couple of seasons, it seems as if Tuanzebe’s hard work has failed to go unnoticed, if the latest reports are to go by.
The Daily Mail claims that, after keeping a close eye on the defender’s progress under Dean Smith, he will now be given a chance to impress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in pre-season.
United travel to Australia, Singapore and China as part of their pre-season tour, and Tuanzebe will join up with his teammates as he looks to force his way into the Norwegian’s plans ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
It hasn’t been the easiest of times for Tuanzebe at Old Trafford – the Red Devils academy graduate started in each of United’s last four league games in the 2016/17 campaign, but didn’t do enough to become a regular starter for Jose Mourinho the following season.
But both United and Tuanzebe will have got what they wanted out of the loan move to Villa, and he will certainly return to Old Trafford as a much better player, a player that can now cope with the physicality as well as the mental side of the game.
United have more than struggled in defence this season, with the likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones being singled out by the vast majority of the Old Trafford faithful.
And, whilst Solksjaer is expected to spend big in the summer, Tuanzebe has more than proven that he could be a major upgrade on their current set of defenders…