The Premier League is finally back after a three-month hiatus, with Aston Villa's hosting of surprise package Sheffield United one of two opening night offerings.
The two sides couldn't have had more contrasting seasons if they tried, having both earned promotion from the Championship during the 2018/19 campaign.
Villla have spent money by the truck load, but not even £100m+ worth of signings have been able to steer Dean Smith's side away from relegation trouble. Opponents Sheffield United have had a remarkable season in contrast, and are competing for a European - maybe even Champions League - qualification spot despite working on a shoestring budget.
With all to play for both teams, here's 90min's preview of what could be a pivotal clash at both ends of the table.
Where to Watch
When is Kick Off: Wednesday 17 June
What Time is Kick Off: 18.00 (BST)
Where is it Played: Villa Park
TV Channel/Live Stream: Sky Sports (UK), NBC Sports (US)
Aston Villa have two long-term absentees in goalkeeper Tom Heaton and striker Wesley, both of whom suffered serious knee injuries earlier this year.
In more positive news, influential midfielder John McGinn has recovered from a long term injury of his own and is fit to play on Wednesday - which will no doubt please Villans boss Dean Smith, who has been without the Scot since he fractured his ankle just before Christmas.
Sheffield United have an entirely fit squad to choose from which will be a big boost to Chris Wilder as he tries to guide his side into Europe.
The only outstanding business for the Blades is to finalise a deal to keep highly rated keeper Dean Henderson at the club until the end of the current season. Formal details are said to be nearly agreed with his parent club Manchester United and the announcement should be due any day now.
Aston Villa: Reina; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Hourihane, Douglas Luiz; Al Ghazi, Grealish; Samatta
Sheffield United: Henderson; Basham, Egan, O'Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; Mousset, McBurnie
Head to Head Record
The sides have met just seven times in the Premier League era, with Aston Villa comfortably leading the battle with five wins. Most of those victories came in the early nineties, though, where a Ron Atkinson led Villa side were challenging the top four and even clinched a league cup.
The most recent meeting between these two took place in mid-December where a missed Jack Grealish penalty and a brace from Scottish midfielder John Fleck was enough for Sheffield United to take all three points at Bramall Lane.
Aston Villa sit 19th in the table and desperately need some wins to pull away from the dreaded drop. Prior to the suspension of football in March, they had managed just two wins since the turn of the year - despite signing Mbwana Samatta in January to fill the void left by Wesley's injury.
They have shipped 56 goals - the most in the league - and despite having the much improved Tyrone Mings and Pepe Reina among their backline, are in the mire after four defeats on the bounce to Bournemouth, Spurs, Southampton and Leicester before the break.
Sheffield United have had an unbelievable season, conceding just 25 goals, and sit seventh - just five points off the automatic Champions League places.
Much of their defensive resolve and clinical edge has derived from a strong spine all the way from the impressive Henderson and the rarely unchanged back five to the dynamic Fleck and John 'Lord' Lundstram, who pull the creative strings in midfield.
Prior to the lockdown, they had lost just twice since the new year and those defeats were to Liverpool and Manchester City - so hardly an embarrassment. Much of their success has also been attributed to an incredibly vocal and passionate fan base, something they will now be without - so it remains to be seen whether they can sustain their form with empty stands surrounding them.
Here is both side's results in all competitions before lockdown:
Leicester City 4-0 Aston Villa (9/3)
Southampton 2-0 Aston Villa (22/2)
Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham (16/2)
Bournemouth 2-1 Aston Villa (1/2)
Aston Villa 2-1 Watford (21/1)
Sheffield United 1-0 Norwich (7/3)
Reading 1-2 Sheffield United (3/3)
Sheffield United 1-1 Brighton (22/2)
Sheffield United 2-1 Bournemouth (9/2)
Crystal Palace 0-1 Sheffield United (1/2)
The stakes couldn't be higher for both these sides, which makes for a hopefully highly entertaining first game back for the Premier League.
Villa desperately need a win - with tougher assignments up in the coming weeks - while Sheffield United are pushing the top sides hard and will want to keep their momentum going. Expect a goal or two in this one but the Blades' superior defence could earn a huge three points.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Sheffield United
Source : 90min