Aston Villa have five fixtures remaining of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign as they look to secure as high a finish as possible in a bid to nail down a place in Europe ahead of the new term that is set to get underway in August.
The Midlands outfit have experienced nothing short of a remarkable turnaround since the arrival of Unai Emery who has won 13 of his 22 games in charge, the most recent being the 1-0 victory over Fulham on Tuesday night. The Spaniard has also become the first manager in English top-flight history to have seen his team score in all of their first 20 games under a new boss, further highlighting the incredible impression he’s made since taking to the dugout.
The Villa Park side absolutely have the right to get excited about what next season could look like under the stewardship of the 51-year-old, but even in the immediate short-term, they are currently in contention to seal qualification to the Europa League which is surely something that supporters would never have expected to be competing for if you would have asked them at the start of the term, so with that being said, here’s how we think their remaining handful of games will pan out.
Aston Villa fixtures
• 30 April: Man United (a)
• 6 May: Wolves (a)
• 13 May: Tottenham (h)
• 20 May: Liverpool (a)
• 28 May: Brighton (h)
Man United v Aston Villa
Following the 1-0 win over Fulham last night, the Villans will be pumped up, ready and raring to go when they make the trip to Old Trafford to take on Erik Ten Hag’s side on Sunday, with another three points for the visitors potentially definitive in the race for European football.
Emery has to ensure that his outfit maintain their confidence and positive run of form that they produced in midweek, and whilst they will be hoping to replicate their 3-1 victory from the reverse fixture in November, it won’t be an easy task to do the same in front of the United crowd.
But with this being an important match to Champions League-chasing Man United, they will not be able to take an in-form Villa lightly, and with an FA Cup final on the horizon, Villa may yet be able to land a psychological blow.
Prediction: Man United 1-1 Aston Villa
Wolves v Aston Villa
The Premier League fixtures are coming thick and fast for Aston Villa, whose next away game after United is versus Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Old Gold were in a vulnerable position and in danger of relegation but have since secured a much-needed victory over Crystal Palace, creating distance between themselves and the drop zone.
From a Villa perspective, this is likely to be considered a very winnable match against an inconsistent side, and another three points would allow them to continue their momentum and gain ground on their competitors around them in the table – which is what we expect on Saturday week.
Prediction: Wolves 1-2 Aston Villa
Aston Villa v Tottenham
On paper, Aston Villa facing Wolves, you’d expect to result in a comfortable victory, but the difficult tests return when they host Tottenham Hotspur in their next game back at home. Ryan Mason’s side will be desperate to change their fortunes after the heavy 6-1 defeat to Newcastle United as they compete to secure a top-four finish, so they could come out fighting – and with a completely different mentality.
The Midlands crowd are sure to be in great voice and prepared to get behind their team as ever, but this could prove to be the possible banana skin of the remaining fixtures during the run-in.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Tottenham
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Following what is sure to be an exciting and fast-paced contest against Spurs, Aston Villa hit the road once again, this time travelling to Anfield to face Liverpool who could still potentially qualify for some kind of European competition should they start picking up results.
Back in the reverse fixture in December, the Reds secured a 3-1 win, so Emery will be hoping that his side can head to Merseyside and gain revenge by turning the tables and picking up all three points, which on their day they are more than capable of doing.
And given the Reds’ inconsistent form and that Villa may well have more to lose as they seek a first European berth in over a decade, Emery’s men may yet spring a surprise.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-3 Aston Villa
Aston Villa v Brighton
Aston Villa’s final home game, and indeed the last fixture of the 2022/23 season, sees them come up against Brighton and Hove Albion who will also be hoping to secure a qualification spot in the Europa League, therefore making them one of their biggest rivals.
The Seagulls, however, could experience a lack of confidence during the run-in after crashing out of the FA Cup semi-final on penalties against Manchester United, so this is something that the Midlands outfit need to capitalise on, with the result likely to prove definitive when it comes to final standings for Emery.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Brighton
• Predicted run-in points: 8/15
• Predicted total points: 62
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