With the 2019/20 fixtures release fast approaching, we're building up to the big day by profiling the new additions to the Premier League; last up, Championship play-off victors Aston Villa.
Villa returned to the top-flight after a resounding victory over Derby County in last month’s Championship play-off final.
Goals from Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn secured the 2-1 win in football's richest game, securing their much anticipated return to Premier League football.
After overcoming relegation in 2016, play-off heartbreak against Fulham last term, and a tricky start to 2018/19, the Birmingham-based outfit entered a stunning run of form under the stewardship of Dean Smith, registering 11 wins and one draw from March to May to secure an unlikely play-off place.
They then saw off West Brom via a penalty shootout, before squeezing past Frank Lampard’s Derby in the final at Wembley Stadium to take the last remaining spot on the roster for the upcoming Premier League campaign.
Dean Smith replaced Steve Bruce as Villa boss in October 2018 and six months later, had secured promotion for the first time as a manager.
The 48-year-old started his managerial career at Walsall and saved the Saddlers from relegation in his first term, before enjoying a successful stint at Brentford.
His crowning glory, though, and pinnacle of his career to date, will undoubtedly be steering boyhood club Villa back to the big time.
It was a club record ten wins in a row, starting in March, which propelled Villa into the play-off places, with Smith's appointment cited by most as the catalyst for the upturn in fortune.
- Kevin Phillips made 73 appearances for Saints between 2003-2005, scoring 27 times. Following the club’s relegation, he moved from the south coast to Aston Villa in 2005.
- Peter Crouch played in the same Southampton team as Phillips, overlapping for a season. The striker’s solo Saints stint preceded his big move to Liverpool, and he scored 16 times in the club’s red and white stripes.
PREVIOUS THREE MEETINGS
October 2015: Southampton 2-1 Aston Villa (League Cup)
December 2015: Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa (Premier League)
April 2016: Aston Villa 2-4 Southampton (Premier League)