The Premier League fixtures are out tomorrow morning. Plans can be made for Aston Villa Football Club to retrace some well-trodden routes to Old Trafford, Anfield, Goodison Park, The Emirates and beyond. There will be a chance to reacquaint ourselves with some less familiar places – Bournemouth and Brighton spring to mind – as well as the opportunity to visit pastures new (well, new-ish) – namely, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Of course, the actual fixture list will not remotely resemble the one which comes out in the morning, once Sky and BT have got their grubby mitts all over it and shunted our away trips to Newcastle and Norwich to Tuesday nights in the middle of November.
Opening day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and the final day are all fixtures we tend to look for first, hoping beyond hope we’ll be playing at home on Boxing Day so a visit from the in-laws can be skillfully avoided, or checking out where we’ll be celebrating our European qualification at the end of the season (calm down JPA!).
When is Derby Day? Er, not this season, unless you count Wolves – we have left Small Heath and Sandwell behind in their spiritual home of the second tier. When will Dean Smith get the chance to pit his wits against Pep and Jurgen? When will we have the inevitable nightmare run of Man City away, Liverpool away, Chelsea at home and Spurs away? You know we will – the fixture computer loves to stitch up the newly-promoted teams.
“People might laugh at me, but when we come up against the likes of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, I want to try and win those games. That’s how we will approach it.” https://t.co/NaTFRqCYx8#PL #AVFC pic.twitter.com/3m5QdqgfBk
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 30, 2019
On a personal note, as my old man is a Dingle, I want to open the season against them, welcoming them back to the Lions’ Den and announcing our return to the Premier League in style. A nice run after that against mid- lower-table sides would be welcome as we ease our way back into the swing of things, and then, bring on the big boys!
It’s an exciting time at Villa Park – the great run of form to get us into the playoffs, the love for the club by our head coach and our skipper, the riches of our owners and the can-do attitude of our CEO means we can hit the ground running on 10thAugust. Or the 11th, the 12th, or whenever Sky decide we are allowed to kick off our season.
Welcome to the Premier League folks. It’s good to be back.
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