After defying all odds and surviving the threat of relegation to the championship on the final day of the season, Dean Smith and Co have begun preparations for another year of football – in the Premier League!
The full 38 game fixture program was announced sharply at 9:00 last Thursday morning as Premier League managers, players and fans eagerly awaited to see who they would be facing on the opening weekend (or not in our case).
The claret and blue faithful were no different, swiftly refreshing the Sky Sports fixture release page in the build up to the big moment.
At the hour mark on the dot, the floodgates opened, and the details of all 380 top division fixtures were all published.
In this article, we look at the most mouth-watering matches the Villans have lined up next year, and when they come around in the already condensed football calendar.
Saturday 19th September – Sheffield United (H)
Forever late to the party, Villa’s first league game is against Sheffield United at Villa Park in mid-September.
The first scheduled match against Manchester City the week before is to be rearranged as the Citizens are entitled to a further week’s recovery period due to their antics in European competitions.
The blades will be making their second league appearance of the season by the time they head to B6 for Villa, playing another midland outfit five days beforehand against Wolverhampton.
This fixture has served up some iconic moments over the last few years, for example, the 3-3 comeback the home side executed within the final ten minutes in 2019, and of course the incredible ghost goal involving Orjan Nyland only a few months ago.
In a game that’s rarely a dull affair, Villa will be hoping to put points on the board in their first league outing since a great escape even Steve McQueen would’ve been proud of.
Saturday 26 September – Fulham (A)
The ‘doing a Fulham’ derby.
Despite everyone’s hopes of avoiding a relegation scrap this season, against a team that are amongst the early contenders to face the drop, a vital three points in this game could be worth far more in Springtime.
They don’t like us, we don’t like them. Ever since the playoff defeat to the later relegated Fulham team in 2018, there has been a grudge between both sets of players and supporters.
Both will be desperate to take all three points in a game between two expansive, attacking sides.
Saturday 24th October – Leeds (H)
The long overdue visit from a Premier League Leeds United.
In the last meeting between the two, the whites were ordered to allow Villa a goal after a moment of unsportsmanlike conduct from several of the Leeds players.
That game came after the reverse where Villa had surrendered a two-goal lead in the home fixture only to lose the game 3-2 in the final seconds.
Saturday 12th December – Wolves (A)
A midlands derby away from home against a side beaten by eventual Europa league winners, Sevilla, last season.
After doing the double over us last time out, Villa will feel the need to restore clarity to the midlands and assert their dominance once more.
Saturday 19th December – West Brom (A)
Only a week on from the trip to Molineux, the Villans head to another nearby neighbour in the shape of West Brom.
The newly promoted team are back in the big time after a two-year absence and will be seeking revenge after Villa cost them a spot at Wembley in the 2019 playoffs.
On the ground where Jed Steer saved two penalties in the shootout, several of the squad from that night will be making the trip back to the Hawthorns for a Premier League encounter.
Saturday 26th December – Crystal Palace (H)
Boxing day is always special in the footballing calendar and this year, Villa welcome South London’s Crystal Palace.
Last season, this game was played behind closed doors as Villa scored twice and kept a clean sheet in a crucial fixture for the home side.
An emulative result would surely be expected as Villa Park sees its last action of 2020.
Sunday 23rd May – Chelsea (H)
The final day of the season, Villa welcome Chelsea after having played Manchester United and Tottenham both within the previous week.
After a tough run in, the season comes to a close for those players who won’t be heading to the European Championships in the summer. These players in particular, may have it in their mind that they must perform well in order to assert themselves in their national side for the summer ahead.
Typically, the final day sees an abundance of goals and Villa will hope they can score a few of these past the blues to round up the campaign.
Key Return Fixtures
Saturday 27th February – Leeds United (A)
Saturday 6th March – Wolves (H)
Saturday 3rd April – Fulham (H)
Saturday 24th April – West Brom (H)