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‘‘Bringing in” or “ringing in” the New Year? A preview of Aston Villa’s remaining matches in 2017.

Beginning next Saturday, Steve Bruce and Aston Villa face an important run of nine matches to end the calendar year.

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Will La Niña cause a big freeze and bring more of these scenes to Villa Park?
Photo by Elliot Brown

If you do a quick search of the old internet, then you’ll see that there is a legitimate discussion as to whether or not the idiom is: “bringing in the New Yearor “ringing in the New Year?We’re decidedly not here to debate the merits of that.

Though as the season to be merry fast approaches, Aston Villa face an action packed schedule. As Villans all of our personal transitions into 2018 will undoubtedly include Villa’s nine remaining Championship fixtures.

With a potentially recording breaking chill approaching, hopefully Villa can manage to find a hot streak and, at the least, keep well within contention for a playoff spot.

However, it is certainly not an easy run of games to close out 2017. Steve Bruce’s men could face a few tricky home and away matches as well as number of possible six-pointers.

Here is a breakdown of Aston Villa’s remaining opponents between now and the New Year.


(A) Queens Park Rangers - Saturday 18th of November

15:00 UK, 10:00 EST & 07:00 PST

Queens Park Rangers’ prior Championship fixtures:

(A) Nottingham Forest 4 – QPR 0

(H) QPR 1 – Sheffield United 0

(H) QPR 2 – Wolves 1

(A) Bolton 1QPR 1

(A) Sunderland 1QPR 1

(A) Fulham 2 – QPR 1

Aston Villa open up their busy finish to 2017 next Saturday at Loftus Road. Unfortunately for Villa, Ian Holloway’s side - Dr. Tony Xia’s favourite manager - have been far more impressive at home this season.

The Hoops have managed to accrue a home record of 5W – 2D – 1L thus far. In those matches, they are outscoring their visiting opponents 12:7. With QPR having scored the same number of goals as Villa thus far (i.e. 22 total), it will likely be an early test of Villa’s backline without John Terry.

That said, after QPR’s recent home successes over the Championship’s top two teams, next weekend’s affair could go either way.

(H) SunderlandTuesday 21st of November

19:45 UK, 14:45 EST & 11:45 PST

Sunderland’s prior Championship fixtures:

(H) Millwall (18/11/17)

(A) Middlesbrough 1 – Sunderland 0

(H) Sunderland 3Bolton 3

(H) Sunderland 1 – Bristol City 2

(A) Brentford 3Sunderland 3

(H) Sunderland 1QPR 1

(A) Preston 2Sunderland 2

One might suspect that by the time the Black Cats get to Villa Park, they might have a new a manager. Should they be able to pry the likes of a Paul Heckingbottom from Barnsley, they could have done far worse.

Sunderland face what might be a winnable home fixture against Millwall the Saturday prior to their clash with Villa. However, Sunderland have been dreadful at home thus far in the Championship. They’ve managed a paltry record of 0W- 3D – 5L at the Stadium of Light, Plight or:

Come that Tuesday night in the B6, the claret and blue could going up against a side that has still gained the majority of their points on the road. With the potential addition of a new manager to possibly provide Sunderland with a bit of a spark, this too could be a little more dicey than you’d like.

Though it should be said that supporters will probably be, and rightfully so, expecting three points from this one.

(H) Ipswich Town Saturday 25th of November

15:00 UK, 10:00 EST & 07:00 PST

Ipswich Town’s prior Championship fixtures:

(H) Sheffield Wednesday (22/11/17)

(A) Hull City (18/11/17)

(H) Ipswich 3 – Preston 0

(A) Cardiff 3 – Ipswich 1

(A) Burton Albion 1 – Ipswich 2

(H) Ipswich 0 – Norwich 1

(A) Sheffield United 1 – Ipswich 0

(H) Ipswich 3 – Bristol City 1

Mick McCarthy got the Tractor Boys off to a flyer in this year’s Championship. Ipswich won five of their first seven matches.

Since that point, their form has been rather inconsistent. It’s really been all three points or nothing for this side as they’ve earned just one draw all season.

Yet again, with the prolonged absence of John Terry, any team that scores a lot of goals could be a threat. Ipswich, with their total of 26, is currently tied for 3rd best in the league. Unfortunately for them, their problem has been that they concede almost as many (i.e. 22).

Ipswich have also been outscored on the road and own 3W – 1D – 4L away record thus far. So with two fairly difficult matches ahead of their visit to Villa Park, this fixture could very well see Aston Villa secure a second consecutive home victory.

(A) Leeds UnitedFriday 1st of December

19:45 UK, 14:45 EST & 11:45 PST

Leeds United’s prior Championship fixtures:

(A) Barnsley (25/11/17)

(A) Wolves (22/11/17)

(H) Middlesbrough (19/11/17)

(A) Brentford 3 – Leeds United 1

(H) Leeds United 1 – Derby 2

(H) Leeds United 1 – Sheffield United 2

(A) Bristol City 0 – Leeds United 3

(H) Leeds United 0 – Reading 1

(A) Sheffield Wednesday 3 – Leeds United 0

Heading into this international break, Leeds are trending downward. With just one win and zero draws in their last seven, questions about the future of Thomas Christiansen have started to surface in Yorkshire.

Those might be just a bit unfair as of now. Through 16 matches, Leeds have a record of 7W – 2D – 7L under the Dane. Even with that record and their 10th place standing, Leeds have maintained a positive goal difference (i.e. 24:19).

Prior to their December opener against Aston Villa at Elland Road, the Whites have a fairly difficult run of matches. If Leeds can quickly find their earlier form, Villa’s trip north for Friday Night Football could be a difficult road matchup.

However, if Leeds United continues their spiral down the table, the claret and blue could have a prime opportunity to take advantage of a sleeping giant still in crisis.

(H) MillwallSaturday 9th of December

15:00 UK, 10:00 EST & 07:00 PST

Millwall’s prior Championship fixtures:

(H) Sheffield United (02/12/17)

(A) Fulham (25/11/17)

(H) Hull City (22/11/17)

(A) Sunderland (18/11/17)

(H) Millwall 0 – Burton Albion 1

(A) Sheffield Wednesday 2 – Millwall 1

(A) Cardiff 0Millwall 0

(H) Millwall 2Birmingham City 0

(A) Brentford 1 – Millwall 0

(H) Millwall 1 – Barnsley 3

Since being promoted from the League One playoff final last season, Neil Harris’ side have had a respectable start in their return to the Championship.

Millwall currently sit in 19th in the standings, five points out of the relegation zone. Unsurprisingly, all of their four victories this season have come at home in The Den.

That is not to say they haven’t managed results on their road. The Lions have a record of 4D and 4L this season away from southeast London. They also have a zero goal difference, having scored 17 and conceded that same amount.

On paper, Millwall have what now appear to be a few winnable matches headed into their December clash at Villa Park. Even if those results don’t go in their favour, it’s always going to be a tenacious clash against Millwall (...had to throw in that, great film).

No matter the results Steve Bruce’s men have earned leading up to this, a home match against a recently promoted Millwall is one where three points is needed.

(A) Derby CountySaturday 16th of December

15:00 UK, 10:00 EST & 07:00 PST

Derby County’s prior Championship fixtures:

(A) Barnsley (09/12/17)

(H) Burton Albion (02/12/17)

(H) Ipswich (28/11/17)

(A) Middlesbrough (25/11/17)

(H) QPR (21/11/17)

(A) Fulham (18/11/17)

(H) Derby County 2 – Reading 4

(A) Leeds United 1 – Derby County 2

(A) Norwich City 1 – Derby County 2

(H) Derby County 2 – Sheffield Wednesday 0

(H) Derby County 2 – Nottingham Forest 0

(A) Cardiff 0Derby County 0

Even though he once managed the Blues, it is hard to ignore the fact that it appears that the Bromsgrove native should be rated as a manager.

Prior to their loss against Reading, Derby were unbeaten in their last seven in the Championship. The Rams are definitely trending upward in the league and currently sit just one point behind Aston Villa in 7th. They also have a game in hand on the claret and blue.

It won’t be easy for Villa away at Derby. Visiting opponents have been outscored there and tallied just eight points in eight. With the likes of Matěj Vydra, David Nugent, Bradley Johnson, and Sam Winnall all scoring for Gary Rowett, Derby appear as if they have goals in them moving forward.

By the time these two promotion rivals meet at Pride Park in mid-December, Derby County will have played that game in hand. This fixture truly has the potential to be an important six-pointer for both sides.

(H) Sheffield UnitedSaturday 23rd of December

17:30 UK, 12:30 EST & 09:30 PST

Sheffield United’s prior Championship fixtures:

(A) Preston North End (16/12/17)

(H) Bristol City (08/12/17)

(A) Millwall (02/12/17)

(H) Birmingham City (25/11/17)

(H) Fulham (21/11/17)

(A) Burton Albion (17/11/17)

(H) Sheffield United 4 – Hull City 1

(A) QPR 1 – Sheffield United 0

(A) Leeds United 1 – Sheffield United 2

(H) Sheffield United 2 – Reading 1

(H) Sheffield United 1 – Ipswich 0

(A) Nottingham Forest 2 – Sheffield United 1

The newly promoted champions of League One are currently sitting 2nd in the table in mid-November. They have already amassed a record of 11W – 0D – 5L while outscoring opponents 24:14.

Suffice to say what Chris Wilder has done with the Blades this season has been remarkable. The man deserves plaudits.

If Sheffield United are able to maintain their form in the run-up of fixtures to this holiday clash at Villa Park, it looks a good shout that they should still be in the hunt for the league title.

However, having lost four times on the road this season, the Blades are vulnerable away from Bramall Lane. Clearly by this time, the hope should be that Aston Villa would have also been in fine fiddle.

If that does turn out to be the case, this fixture should be another massive clash in this season’s promotion push.

A win in this one and the club’s holiday jumper (i.e. a shameless plug) would be a nice gift for all supporters!

(A) BrentfordTuesday 26th of December

19:30 UK, 14:30 EST & 11:30 PST

Brentford’s prior Championship fixtures:

(A) Norwich City (22/12/17)

(H) Barnsley (16/12/17)

(A) Hull City (09/12/17)

(H) Fulham (02/12/17)

(A) QPR (27/11/17)

(H) Burton Albion (21/11/17)

(A) Cardiff (18/11/17)

(H) Brenftord 3 – Leeds United 1

(A) Birmingham City 0 – Brentford 2

(A) Preston North End 2 – Brentford 3

(H) Sunderland 3Brentford 3

(H) Brentford 1 – Millwall 0

(A) Middlesbrough 2Brentford 2

Boxing Day might be the best day of sport each year…here’s a great memory from 2008:

After a rather poor start to the season, Dean Saunders has his men quietly marching up the table. The Bees have not lost in the Championship since the 12th of September.

Since then, they have been unbeaten in their last nine fixtures and tallied 19 points to move up the table. They currently are another club on this list that are heading in a positive direction.

Brentford now sit just four points behind Aston Villa. With young talents like Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins finding their shooting boots, the Bees could continue to be very competitive as the season progresses.

Obviously it is hard to predict where each team will be by Boxing Day. Given that the two played out a rather boring draw earlier in the season, another point for the claret and blue might not be the worst outcome.

(A) Middlesbrough Saturday 30th of December

15:00 UK, 10:00 EST & 07:00 PST

(H) Bolton (26/12/17)

(A) Sheffield United (23/12/17)

(A) Millwall (16/12/17)

(H) Ipswich (09/12/17)

(A) Bristol City (02/12/17)

(H) Derby County (25/11/17)

(H) Birmingham City (22/11/17)

(A) Leeds United (19/11/17)

(H) Middlesbrough 1 – Sunderland 0

(A) Hull City 1 – Middlesbrough 3

(A) Reading 0 – Middlesbrough 2

(H) Middlesbrough 0 – Cardiff 1

(A) Barnsley 0Middlesbrough 0

(H) Middlesbrough 2Brentford 2

Boro currently sit on the same number of points as Aston Villa, but are in 5th due to a one-goal difference. By some accounts, Garry Monk’s team were tipped to be promotion favourites and are underachieving a bit.

However, if you look at their recent form, Middlesbrough are unfortunately another club on Villa’s year end schedule that have put together a decent run of late.

Boro already went to Villa Park in mid-September and took all three points. Combine that loss with the fact that they have played their best football at the Riverside this season and there should be no question that this is another tough fixture for Villa.

Again, it might be too far out to prognosticate with eight matches between now and then. If this date finds Steve Bruce’s side in the thick of the promotion battle, that would be outstanding and one should expect this to be another big match.

Poll

Have your say: How many of Aston Villa’s nine remaining 2017 fixtures will the claret and blue win?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    9
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    8
    (1 vote)
  • 11%
    7
    (8 votes)
  • 25%
    6
    (18 votes)
  • 34%
    5
    (24 votes)
  • 18%
    4
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    3
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    2
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    1
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    0
    (0 votes)
70 votes total Vote Now

Feel free to discuss your predictions below. As always, Up The Villa!