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Analysing Aston Villa's run-in

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at the fixtures Aston Villa will have to play if the 2019-20 Premier League season resumes.

When Aston Villa regained their place in the top flight last summer, they would have been targeting Premier League survival and a positive run in a cup competition during the 2019-20 campaign.

While reaching the EFL Cup final has ticked one of the boxes, there is still plenty of work when it comes to the other as the club sit in the relegation zone.

Although just two points separate the West Midlands outfit to 16th position with a game in hand against Sheffield United to come, Dean Smith will acknowledge that his players must improve if they want to retain their place among English football's elite.

With the Premier League potentially resuming in June, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Villa's run-in, assuming that their remaining fixtures will be played in the same order.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith on December 28, 2019© Reuters

Although the rearranged date with Sheffield United had not been officially announced before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it would make sense for the fixture with the Blades to come first in order to maintain sporting integrity with regards to the same number of games being played.

Villa will head into the contest having failed to defeat the Yorkshire side in their three most recent games, which includes a 2-0 setback at Bramall Lane earlier this season.

Next up should be Chelsea, who have put together a five-match winning streak in that fixture, but Villa have fared better against Newcastle United having only suffered one defeat in five against the Magpies.

The derby with Wolverhampton Wanderers is scheduled for Villa's fourth game back, and Smith will be particularly eager for his team to deliver a much-improved performance after being thoroughly outplayed at Molineux before Christmas.

Villa then face the prospect of a double-header with Liverpool and Manchester United, an unenviable task when taking into consideration what may be at stake for the two North-West rivals at the opposite end of the table.

Jack Grealish in action for Aston Villa on February 22, 2020© Reuters

With four games to go, the testing encounters will continue for Villa with Crystal Palace having prevailed in four of the last seven contests between the clubs.

In Everton and Arsenal, Villa face teams who could still be challenging for a place in Europe, a scenario which will only raise the stakes should Villa require more points on the board.

Historically, Villa have only recorded two wins from 12 against the Toffees, although they did emerge victorious in the reverse fixture at Villa Park earlier this season.

However, Villa have lost out to the Gunners in the last seven meetings, a run which started all the way back in January 2014.

The final game of the season is due to be a scrap with relegation rivals West Ham United - opposition who have avoided defeat in this fixture in the most recent three matches.

Aston Villa's Trezeguet celebrates after the match with Matt Targett, Orjan Nyland, teammates and fans on the pitch on January 28, 2020© Reuters

With Villa's remaining foes possessing an average position of 8.4, it is clear that they have been dealt a tougher run-in than any of their nearest rivals.

That argument is strengthened when taking into account that Villa recorded just eight points from the 10 reverse fixtures earlier in the season.

Villa's remaining Premier League fixtures

Sheffield United (a)
Chelsea (h)
Newcastle United (a)
Wolves (h)
Liverpool (a)
Man United (h)
Crystal Palace (h)
Everton (a)
Arsenal (h)
West Ham (a)

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Alex Ferguson pictured on his final game in charge of Manchester United on May 19, 2013
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rhs 2.0
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721

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