By Harvey Byrne

Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has told that the play-offs are the best that Aston Villa can hope for in the Championship this season.

The Midlands giants are going into their second consecutive campaign in England’s second tier after suffering relegation in 2016 as well as their first full season under Steve Bruce.

Villa suffered a disappointing 13th placed finish in the last campaign and while they have added seven new players to their squad this summer, Merson has told that he doesn’t see a lot of change from last season, which he has also identified as a worry.

“Aston Villa were always going to be under pressure this season and I think the best they can hope for is the play-offs,” wrote Merson in his column for the Daily Star.

“I don’t see that a whole lot has changed there since last season, which is a worry, and they might need to change the system.

“I think they need to play three at the back with John Terry there. He has great experience but there are some quick players in that league.

“They need to play a three to free John up to control that defence and mop things up when it all breaks down.”

Aston Villa have had a difficult start to the new Championship season with just one victory in their first five games alongside two defeats and two draws, leaving them in 18th place in the league table and already four points off the play-offs.

They do however have a home clash next Saturday coming up against Brentford, who are sat second from bottom in the league table and lost three key players over the last few days of the summer window without replacing them.

Bruce’s side will see the clash as a way to get their season started and they will be hoping to put the bad start behind them quickly and prove pundits like Merson wrong by winning promotion.

In other Aston Villa news, this Villa fan favourite agreed a last-gasp deadline day exit.

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