As we move into July, pre-season is really beginning to kick in for clubs in the Premier League. Excitement is building towards the new season. Expectations are certainly there for Villa, survival has to be the first aim. But to truly have a successful season back in the top flight, more than that is needed.
Establishing themselves will be the longer-term aim. To do that, Villa will need to finish mid-table on a regular basis. Those looking to back the club to do that right from the off should check out the bookmakers listed on newbettingoffers.co.uk as they already have a wide range of betting options for the upcoming season available including survival and finishing in the top half of the table.
Looking down the fixtures, it looks as though three key periods will define this season and here is a quick look at those moments.
Having a good start is vital, and an away trip to Tottenham is not the easiest first game back in the big time. However, the games after that one give Villa a fantastic chance to get some points on the board early, and if they are to edge towards the mid-table area this season, it is vital they take advantage of this run.
After Spurs, three of the next four games are at home with Bournemouth, Everton and West Ham the visitors while the only away trip is at Crystal Palace. There is no reason why Villa can’t have six or seven points on the board after their first five games, something that will set them up well.
October 26th – December 4th – The Rough Patch
If Villa goes on a run where they fail to pick up any points, it could well be this period. During this time, The Villans have six games, with away trips to Manchester City, Wolves, Manchester United and Chelsea as well as home games against Liverpool and Newcastle.
That gives them four games against the top six, an away trip to Wolves who were fantastic last season and a home game against Newcastle which is their only realistic hope of picking up three points. This will be tough, and as tough as it gets for anyone in the Premier League, and a big test of character for the team.
The Christmas Period
Five games in three weeks, with all five against teams who could be in the bottom half of the table, and four of the five are amongst the favourites for relegation, which only adds to the importance of this period.
Home games against Southampton and Norwich will be viewed as must-win, and they come within six days of each other, one either side of Christmas. Before that, a big trip to fellow promoted club Sheffield United, while after sees Villa travel to Watford and Burnley.
Christmas is a busy time; many points are on offer in a short period of time. However, the teams who Villa are up against this season make it even more important, and it is vital that the club concentrates around this period and ensures they are fully prepared and ready for each of these five games.