What's fueling Aston Villa's run to Premier League top four

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What's fueling Aston Villa's run to Premier League top four

In 1998-99, Manchester United put together what many considered to be the greatest single season in the history of English soccer. First, they secured the Premier League title on the final day with a 2-1 comeback win against Tottenham. A week later, they took down the Premier League's greatest-ever goal-scorer, Alan Shearer, and Newcastle in the FA Cup final, winning 2-0. And then, finally and famously, they won the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, 2-1, with two goals in injury time.

That's right. Through 13 games this year, Villa are averaging 2.15 points per match. Treble-winning Man United averaged 2.08. In fact, six other Premier League title-winners averaged fewer points per match than Villa's current rate. No team that's won points at or above Villa's current rate has ever finished below third place, and no team that's broken the two-points-per-game threshold has finished outside of the top four.

How did Aston Villa do it, and is it a strategy other teams can copy? Also, how likely are Villa to keep it up?

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