sport

Stoke first up for Aston Villa

Aston Villa will begin their 2014/15 Premier League campaign with a trip to face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on August 16.

Paul Lambert's side face a testing period between September and October, meeting Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton in consecutive weeks.

Ahead of the hectic Christmas period, which will see Villa play four times in 12 days, they travel to The Hawthorns for a derby against West Bromwich Albion.

The festive period begins at Villa Park on December 20 with Louis van Gaal's Manchester United the guests, before a Boxing Day trip to face Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

Two days later Villa will be back in Birmingham for a clash with Sunderland, before Tony Pulis' Crystal Palace make the trip north for a New Year's Day showdown.

The season run-in sees Villa host West Ham United at Villa Park and travel to face Southampton before taking on newly-promoted Burnley in the Midlands on the final day of the season.

Opening three fixtures:

Stoke City (a)Newcastle United (h)Hull City (h)