Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston VillaEnglish Premier League, KO: 17:30 Aug 10, 2019, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
IF they hadn't already then Aston Villa will soon realise that they are back in the big time when they run out at the sumptuous Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday evening.
Following a three-year absence from the top-flight boyhood Villa fan Dean Smith steered the Claret and Blue back to the promise land that is the money-spinning English Premier League.
First up for the Villans are Champions League runners-up Tottenham Hotspur who for the first time in three years are residing in their own home at the start of a league campaign.
Furthermore, it's the first time that Spurs have started the Premier League season with a home fixture since 2010 and the bookmakers believe that they will do so by easing to victory over Aston Villa at 1/3 (BetVictor)
Spurs have also been splashing the cash over the close season having spent in excess of £100m in recruiting the likes of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon.
The latter is one of five players Mauricio Pochettino will be unable to call upon on day one and other notable absentees include Dele Alli and Heung-min Son.
As for Aston Villa it will be intriguing to see how they line up in North London after an active and ambitions Summer transfer splurge on 12 players which resulted in an outlay of over £100m.
New recruits include Brazilian duo Douglas Luiz and Wesley, yet the best bit of business that the Midlands side may have done this Summer is securing John McGinn on a new five-year deal.
McGinn's all action displays have endeared him to the Villa faithful – so much so that the former St Mirren man was recently linked with a sensational £50m move to Manchester United.
The combative Scotsman played an integral role in helping Villa return to the Premier League, but his tenacious style of play also seen him clock up 14 yellow cards.
With that in mind I like the look of the 12/5 (William Hill) on offer for McGinn to mark his Premier League bow with a booking against star-studded Spurs.
Another key Villan who is not a new signing at Villa Park is skipper Jack Grealish who was destined to return to the elite level of English football this season even if Aston Villa had failed to do so.
Playmaker Grealish lit up the English Championship last season with his delightful dribbling, trickery and wonder-goals and will be eager to replicate that form on his return to the top tier.
The Villa talisman could hold the key to his sides survival hopes and Grealish looks extremely overpriced at Evens (BoyleSports) to have a shot on target against Tottenham.
Whether or not Grealish hits the target remains to be seen but I do believe that Villa can grab a goal on their return to the big stage.
Don't expect Aston Villa to be set up to spoil games this season as a means of survival – Dean Smith will believe that attacking is the best form of defence.
Free-scoring Villa scored in all but one of their final 16 games on route to promotion and will be aiming to showcase their attacking talents against a Spurs side who somewhat surprisingly lost 13 of their 38 Premier League fixtures last season.
However, Villa's expansive style can leave them exposed at the other end of the park – so much so that their backline was breached on 61 occasions last term.
Consequently, Smith's philosophy will see superior opposition such as Spurs punish his side this season and although I'm leaning towards a home win here I expect adventurous Aston Villa to give Spurs a scare.
This English Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa will be played on Aug 10, 2019 and kick off at 17:30