It’s been a long time coming for Aston Villa fans, but a return to European football edges even nearer as earlier today it was confirmed that we would now either face Scottish Premiership side Hibernian, or FC Luzern of Switzerland in our Europa Conference League Play Off round.
The draw for the Play offs took place in Nyon on Monday afternoon, and after Italian side Juventus were kicked out of the tournament, Villa are now seeded and we will be paired against the winner of that tie.
The two legged affair will see us away for the first leg on Thursday, August 24 but the second leg will be at a rocking Villa Park on Thursday, August 31. Our eventual opponent will be known on August 17 and ticket details will be confirmed in due course.
Clearly, most of us will be wanting a match up with Hibernian. A return for Super Meatball McGinn to his former side would add some additional spice to the occasion, and in some ways it’s a shame his brothers, Stephen and Paul, are no longer at Easter Road, as that would’ve definitely added to the spectacle.
From our point of view, whoever we draw, we go in as favourites and we will be expected to win with a relative amount of comfort.
That will certainly be manager Unai Emery’s demand ahead of the double header, as he is already on record as saying about our European adventure.
“We are going to play this year, hopefully, a lot of matches. The Conference League is an objective as well but the Premier League is the first competition we are going to face. We have to be fit and make everyone aware that hopefully it’s going to be a long season. We are going to play a lot of matches, playing on Thursday and then on Sunday, with FA Cup and Carabao Cup. We did pre-season thinking that we have to work on different things tactically, and we did it.”
It might just be me, but sounds like this manager isn’t going to accidentally throw European delights to fail at finishing in the top four and then celebrate spending years never improving on sixth.
Ho hum. I’m still not bitter.