Dean Smith hates the notion of the Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Six’ and believes those who are sitting in the top six deserve that merit.
Aston Villa’s destiny for 2021/22 has been mapped out with an opener against newly-promoted Watford at Vicarage Road on August 14.
After that it’s two ‘winnable’ games at Villa Park when Newcastle (August 21) and Brentford (August 28) both rock up before the September international break.
Then it really starts to get juicy as Villa travel to Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal all within the space of six weeks.
Villa have huge ambitions to gatecrash the top six with Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens prepared to go full-hammer in a bid to leapfrog the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, Everton and others for European qualification.
Supporters should get a good feel as to how Villa’s season will pan out after Villa’s trip to the Emirates on October 23.
Villa, of course, have already got one over on Arsenal after landing £33 million Emi Buendia but, after that fixture in north London, it’ll be interesting to see where Smith’s side sit knowing they would have already been to Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford and Tottenham’s $1 billion stadium.
Will Smith’s Villa have a bloody nose or will they be purring after silencing the so-called big boys?
As we all witnessed last season, Villa’s start was a soaring one with four wins from four against Sheffield United, Fulham, Liverpool and Leicester City.
That set to tone for a positive campaign with Villa flirting with the Champions League spots prior to Jack Grealish’s shin injury. That 12-game setback, plus the squad’s 14-case Covid outbreak, completely derailed Villa’s season with Smith’s men finishing 11th with a decent return of 55 points – a total of 20 more than what they obtained in 2019/20.
Looking at the new season, Smith has informed BirminghamLive that he wants to bridge that gap between mid-table and those European places but, should Grealish have an injury-free season and a couple of signings are added once again, then Villa will be on course to do just that.
Also, as we witnessed with 10,000 fans inside Villa Park for the final home game of last season against Chelsea, Villa will pick up far more points at home with supporters behind them. B6 is a cauldron of noise, with Smith putting Villa’s win over the Champions League winners down to the fans. He was right, too.
So, looking ahead to 2021/22, the so-called Big Six should be wary of the threat Villa will pose this upcoming season. The club have already spent a club-record amount on their No.1 target and are primed to improve once again.
Villa’s a different beast now with Grealish, Buendia, John McGinn, Ollie Watkins and their rock-solid defence all poised to have another standout campaign – only this time it’ll be better, much better.
What do you make of this season’s fixture list? Should Villa make a positive start? Where should they be aiming for come May 22? Let us know in the comment section below…