Aston Villa April 2024

Aston Villa: The run-in

Unai Emery’s Villa side are the front runners to secure the final UEFA Champions League qualification spot in fourth place, and the Villans are also looking to secure a first major European trophy since 1982.

In every Premier League season since its inception in 1992, there has always been a handful of teams that perform beyond expectations over the course of a particular campaign, from Leicester City becoming English top-flight Champions in the 2015/16 season to Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United securing qualification for the UEFA Champions League with their 4th place finish last season.

Talking of the Champions League, Aston Villa have had a sensational season where they have performed exceptionally well, and despite the plethora of injuries that they have endured over the last few months, they are still able to lead the race ahead of Spurs for the last Champions League qualification spot in fourth place.

More good news has also recently arrived for Villa fans in the form of a contract extension for Head Coach Unai Emery, with the Spaniard expected to sign a deal that now expires in 2027. This is according to journalist David Ornstein who also predicts that the Villans will try to extend his contract further in the summer.

As the table stands at the time of writing, the Villans currently find themselves a place above 5th place Spurs, having accumulated no less than 66 points from their 34 matches. This leaves them with a 6 point gap ahead of their North London counterparts, albeit Spurs do have two games in hand.

However, with fixtures against the likes of title chasers Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool to come for Tottenham, Emery and Villa ought to fancy their chances of securing fourth place. The West Midlands outfit does have some tricky fixtures of their own against Chelsea, Brighton, Liverpool, and Crystal Palace, their advantage over Ange Postecoglou’s side and their form will certainly make them optimistic about ending up with a top-four finish after the final whistle is blown in their last game of the season at Selhurst Park in May.

Aston Villa has secured some very impressive results in the league this season. One of which was a 1 – 0 win against Manchester City at Villa Park where the home side dominated the chances with 7 shots on target from a total shot count of 22 – this compared impressively to City’s 2 shots on target from just 2 shots in total throughout the contest.

Another 1 – 0 win, this time against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal then followed, and Villa did go on to complete the double over the title-chasing Gunners thanks to an impressive 2 – 0 win away from home at the Emirates Stadium. Late goals from Leon Bailey (84’) and Ollie Watkins (87’) secured all three points.

This was followed up by the Villans’ most recent victory which came in their most recent Premier League game that saw them come from behind to win 3 – 1 against a resurgent AFC Bournemouth at Villa Park. Morgan Rogers (45+1’), Moussa Diaby (57’), and Leon Bailey (78’) were all on the scoresheet that day.

Moving on to Europe, Villa have been impressive in the UEFA Europa Conference League this term. After topping a group containing AZ Alkmaar, Legia Warsaw, and Zrinjski Mostar with 13 points from 6 matches, the Villans were drawn against European heavyweights Ajax, who they were able to beat 4 – 0 on aggregate. This handed them a tie against French Club Lille in the Quarter Final.

Villa won the first leg at Villa Park 2 – 1 with Ollie Watkins (13’) and John McGinn (56’) scoring the all-important goals. After losing 2 – 1 against their Ligue 1 counterparts in the second leg in Northern France, Emery’s side went on to secure passage into the semi-finals thanks to a 4 – 3 win in the penalty shootout that followed extra time.

Now we are going to look ahead at the fixtures to come for Aston Villa, starting with the Premier League. Sat in 4th with 66 points, Villa currently has 4 games remaining in the 2023/24 season.

Their next game sees them come face to face with Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea at Villa Park on Saturday 27th April 2024 in what will be a 20:00 kick-off. The Blues, who are sat in 9th place with 47 points as of the time of writing, were beaten 1 – 0 by their West Midlands counterparts earlier on in the season at Stamford Bridge, where Ollie Watkins got the goal late on in the second half (73’).

If Villa wins this game, they will go 9 points clear of Spurs in 5th, albeit the Lilywhites will have several games in hand. Both teams have a difficult last few games to come, but Spurs still have to face Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool.

After Chelsea, Emery’s Villans will make the trip to the South Coast to face Brighton, who they beat 6 – 1 at Villa Park back in September 2023. An own goal from Pervis Estupinan (26’) alongside an Ollie Watkins hat-trick (14’, 21’, 65’) and goals from Jacob Ramsey (85’) and Douglas Luiz (90+7) handed Villa this memorable win, and they will hope to complete the double over Roberto De Zerbi’s Seagulls at the Amex.

Then comes Aston Villa’s final home game of the 2023/24 Premier League season against Jurgen Klopp’s title chasing Liverpool on Monday 13th May in a 20:00 kick-off. The Villans were defeated at Anfield in their most recent encounter, so they will be looking for revenge here.

Finally, Crystal Palace are the Villans’ opponents at Selhurst Park in what is the last game of the season. All of the games before this will all prove crucial to Villa’s ambition to finish in the top four, and the race with Spurs could come down to the final day.

Either way, the race for the UEFA Champions League is going to be enthralling going into the last month of the season with Aston Villa currently in the driving seat with a 6 point lead over their North London counterparts.

As for the UEFA Europa Conference League, Aston Villa has been drawn against Greek Super League side Olympiacos in the semi-finals. A place in the Final is of course at stake, and Villa will face the Greek Giants at Villa Park in a 20:00 kick-off on Thursday 2nd May before traveling to Piraeus for the away leg a week later on Thursday 9th May.

Should Villa get to the Final, they will be facing either Belgian side Club Brugge or last year’s finalists Fiorentina.

The 2024 UEFA Europa Conference League Final is set to be taking place on Wednesday 29th May in a 20:00 kick-off at the OPAP Arena in Athens.

Excitement and anticipation are now building rapidly for the remainder of Aston Villa’s season, where they are in the hunt for UEFA Champions League qualification and the UEFA Europa Conference League title under the stewardship of Head Coach Unai Emery.

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Aston Villa Hospitality – 2024

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