It only seems like yesterday that the 2014-2015 season finished but the fixtures for next season were announced this morning. Villa fans can now start planning for 2015/2016, knowing which weekends the boys in claret and blue are playing.
Sat 8th August: Bournemouth (A)
Sat 15th August: Manchester United (H)
Sat 22nd August: Crystal Palace (A)
Sat 29th August: Sunderland (H)
We start the campaign on the road and will face newly promoted Bournemouth. I believe this is a tough start. We played the Cherries last season in the FA Cup, winning 2-1, but what was a virtually reserve Bournemouth side did cause us trouble.
One of the best footballing sides in the country last season, the Cherries present a tough start. The fixtures computer does not seem a huge fan of Aston Villa Football Club, as the Villans always seem to be away for the first game.
I would expect this game to be televised and it is at least an exciting first game.
Our first home game is against Manchester United, a team we have not beaten at home since 1995. Can we finally end twenty years of hurt?
A trip to Selhurst Park, one of the few away grounds we won at last season, and Sunderland at home finish August off.
We will find out in the next five days the exact times and dates for these games as the television companies take their pick.
Sat 12th August: Leicester City (A)
Sat 19th September: W.B.A (H)
Sat 26th September: Liverpool (A)
After an international break, we visit the King Power Stadium and our old player Marc Albrighton.
Following that, the midlands derby takes place at Villa Park. I would expect the kick-off time and/or date to move for this one, especially in light of the trouble last time round.
We end September at Anfield, a ground we always seem to visit near the beginning of the season. We have a decent record there and hopefully it will continue.
Like the August games, we will find out in the next five days the exact times and dates for these games, as Sky and BT Sport will be picking the matches to televise.
Saturday 3rd October: Stoke (H)
Saturday 17th October: Chelsea (A)
Saturday 24th October: Swansea (H)
Saturday 31st October: Spurs (A)
Stoke are the first visitors to Villa Park in October. Since we haven’t beaten the Potters at home since 2009, it’s fair to say they’re another bogey team at Villa Park.
After another international break, we visit the champions Chelsea. If Falcao hasn’t bagged for the Blues by then, expect this to be the game when he does!
The following weekend the Swans make the journey from Wales to B6. Last season, a close game was won 1-0 by Swansea in the dying minutes when we were deep in relegation trouble.
Spurs away finishes October. A poor recent record at White Hart Lane was banished last season with a 1-0 win, with Benteke the scorer. I hope he’s still with us this time round.
Saturday 7th November: Man City (H)
Saturday 21st November: Everton (A)
Saturday 28th November: Watford (H)
The Citizens bring their expensively assembled squad to Villa Park in November. If Yaya Toure is still plying his trade for the Citizens then he will be looking to make it the third season in a row in which he’s scored at Villa Park.
Tom Cleverley will face us at Goodison Park after yet another international break. After his words about staying at Villa before he left I do not expect our fans to be pleased to see him. It could be a potentially all ex-Villa central midfield for Everton with Gareth Barry still there too.
Watford is the first promoted team to visit Villa Park. Let’s hope Elton John’s favourites don’t go breaking my heart…
Saturday 5th December: Southampton (A)
Saturday 12th December: Arsenal (H)
Saturday 19th December: Newcastle (A)
Saturday 26th December: West Ham (H)
Monday 28th December: Norwich (A)
December is every football fan’s favourite month, packed as it is with football.
A trip to St Mary’s is first up in December. Tim Sherwood will want revenge after our 6-1 humbling there last season.
The following weekend, we will play Arsenal at Villa Park. Revenge will be the theme of the day onmce again, although we haven’t beaten the Gunners at Villa Park since December 1998! From our line-up that day only Gareth Barry still plays football for a living!
The weekend before Christmas means along trip to Newcastle.
Then comes the traditional Boxing Day fixture and this year we will be entertaining the Hammers.
We end 2015 in Norwich and Carrow Road is a ground we have a good record at. Libor Kozak scored the winner there a couple of seasons ago. Will be be back firing for us next campaign?
Saturday 2nd January: Sunderland (A)
Tuesday 12th January: Crystal Palace (H)
Saturday 16th January: Leicester City (H)
Saturday 23rd January: WBA (A)
After winning at the Stadium of Light three seasons running, we will be looking to start 2016 with another win against Sunderland.
After the third round of the FA Cup we will play Palace at home in the home that it is a better game than last season’s dire 0-0.
A team we managed to beat twice at Villa Park last season, Leicester City, visit B6 a few days later.
Last up in January is a visit to the Hawthorns for a chance to avenge last season’s 1-0 defeat, when Craig Gardner scored. If Kieran Richardson is playing, he will hopefully be able to stay on the pitch this time round.
Tuesday 2nd February: West Ham (A)
Saturday 6th February: Norwich (H)
Saturday 13th February: Liverpool (H)
Saturday 27th February: Stoke (A)
Our last ever visit to Upton Park sets February in motion as the Hammers will ply their trade at the impressive Olympic Park from 2016-17. The Canaries are at Villa Park later that week, a fixture that meant more when Paul Lambert was in charge, although Tim Sherwood did play for Norwich City.
Rodgers’ Reds visit B6 the week after the Canaries. As good as we are against them at Anfield, we haven’t put up much of a fight at Villa Park.
We visit Stoke in the last weekend in February. Andi Weimann scored the winner at the Britannia last time round but it’s looking unlikely he will be here to repeat the feat this coming season.
Tuesday 1st March: Everton (A)
Saturday 5th March: Man City (A)
Saturday 12th March: Spurs (H)
Saturday 19th March: Swansea (A)
Another Tuesday game starts March off and the Toffees are the hosts.
After dominating last season, we will be looking for a similar display at Manchester City and it would be nice to have something to show for our efforts this time.
Spurs, another team with a good record at Villa Park, visit us on the 12th March. Current Villa target Kieran Tripper looks set to join them in the coming days with former Villan Kyle Walker competing with him for a place in the Londoners’ starting line-up.
We finish a tough March in Swansea. The Liberty Stadium is a ground we are yet to win at since they were promoted to the Premier League but at least Wilfried Bony is no longer there after he destroyed us a couple of seasons ago.
Saturday April 2nd: Chelsea (H)
Saturday April 9th: Bournemouth (H)
Saturday April 16th: Manchester United (A)
Saturday 23rd April: Southampton (H)
Saturday 30th April: Watford (A)
In isolation April looks okay but coupled with March we have a tough run of games at a crucial stage of the season.
Jose Mourinho had not won at Villa Park until last season so let’s hope we see a tactical masterclass against the self proclaimed ‘special one’.
The Cherries visit next for the second home game in a row.
A trip to Old Trafford, which is not a particularly happy hunting ground, precedes the Saints’ visit to Villa Park.
The Hornets, who will no doubt be battling for points, are the hosts on the last day of April. Let’s hope we are not down there with them.
Saturday 7th May: Newcastle (H)
Sunday 15th May: Arsenal (A)
The Magpies are the final visitors to Villa Park in 2015-2016, as they were in 2008-2009 when we sent them down.
A tough trip to the Emirates wraps the season up. We lost 5-0 last time out at the Emirates but did win there on the opening day of the season before with a brilliant display.
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As you can see, there are no horror runs in 2015-16 but we face a tough last few months to the season. Seeing the fixtures has excited me and I am ready to start the new campaign. In the intervening fifty-two days, I look forward to seeing what transfer business Tim Sherwood does and hope that by August 8th we will have a squad travelling to Bournemouth that fans are satisfied with.