Aston Villa looked in danger of relegation to the Championship when Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard as manager.
However, the Spanish boss changed their fortunes within a few months as an impressive run of form saw them climb up the table. They are sitting 11th in the standings, 14 points above the drop zone.
The Lions’ 3-0 success over Bournemouth last weekend was their third victory in four previous league matches. Emery now wants his side to show big ambition and push for a European place.
That is achievable if they perform well in their upcoming matches next month. We look at Villa’s fixtures in April.
Chelsea – April 1 (A)
Chelsea seem to have turned a corner under manager Graham Potter, picking up some positive results after enduring a miserable run of form.
They progressed to the Champions League quarter-finals after defeating Borussia Dortmund in the previous round.
Some people are even daring to suggest they could end up winning the Champions League this season.
And while we will not go that far yet, Chelsea have undoubtedly shown great improvement in recent weeks. Aston Villa should expect a very tough fixture at Stamford Bridge.
Leicester City – April 4 (A)
Leicester face a tough fight to stay in the Premier League. The Foxes have some top-quality players in their ranks but have lost five of their last six matches in all competitions.
Villa, who lost 4-2 at home to Leicester last time out, will have a chance to take revenge when they travel to the King Power Stadium in April.
However, Brendan Rodgers’ side will likely provide a tough contest in their bid to survive in the richest football league.
Nottingham Forest – April 8 (H)
Numerous clubs are currently battling to survive in the English top-flight this season, and Nottingham Forest are one of them.
The Tricky Trees have failed to register a single win in their previous six league games and are now just two points above the drop zone.
Villa played out a 1-1 draw with Forest in their previous meeting, with Ashley Young cancelling out the advantage of Emmanuel Dennis’ goal. Emery’s side will be eager to fare better in their league encounter at Villa Park.
Newcastle United – April 15 (H)
Newcastle recorded back-to-back wins in the Premier League after hitting a slump in form in February.
They are expected to provide tough competition to Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in the race for a top-four finish.
Eddie Howe’s side have regained their form and could prove to be very tough opponents for Villa.
Brentford – April 22 (A)
Brentford are poised to make another strong finish in the Premier League after claiming 13th place last season.
They are currently eighth in the standings and still in with a chance of qualifying for Europe next term.
However, the Bees will not have any pleasant memories of their previous meeting with Villa as they sipped to a 4-0 defeat.
Thomas Frank’s men will be motivated to perform well when they host Villa next month.
Fulham – April 25 (H)
Fulham made an impressive start to life in the Premier League following their promotion from the Championship last season.
Under Marco Silva, the Cottagers have recorded 11 wins and six draws from 27 matches to be just three points behind Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion.
The West Londoners will travel to Villa Park towards the end of April, hoping to claim a double over the Midlands outfit.
Manchester United – April 30 (A)
This will be the toughest fixture for Villa in April as Manchester United hare much-improved this season under Erik ten Hag.
Beating United at Old Trafford will be a big ask, but Emery’s side can take some confidence from the fact they beat the Manchester giants 3-1 in their previous league meeting.
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