Manchester United forced to play Aston Villa on a Friday night

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Manchester United will be forced to play their Premier League away match against Aston Villa in August on a Friday night because the English Defence League have arranged a demonstration in neighbouring Walsall the following day.

The Red Devils were originally due to travel to Villa Park on Saturday 15 August but police are worried the mass march might cause a conflict with the football supporters, reports the Daily Mail.

Sky Sports wanted to televise the game live in their 5.30pm slot that evening, but with the far-right group's protest scheduled to start at 1pm it was viewed as a potential risk to public safety.


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The game could not be rearranged for Sunday due to the fact that Louis van Gaal's side could potentially have a Champions League game the following Tuesday, leaving no option but to play it under the lights in Birmingham on Friday evening just six days after their 2015/16 opener against Tottenham Hotspur at the Theatre of Dreams.

That match will be shown live on BT Sport on Saturday 8 August where Manchester United will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last season when they lost at home to Swansea City in what was Van Gaal's first competitive game in charge.

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Twelve months later and they're in a much stronger position with the veteran Dutchman hopeful of mounting a genuine title challenge, providing they can cope with the demands of playing extra games again after returning to Europe.

Red Devils supporters are used to travelling away in the middle of the week to go and follow their team in cup competitions, but it's not often they're required to make the midweek schlep for a Premier League tie, and even more rare on a Friday.

"A Saturday 5:30pm kick-off was initially suggested for this match and West Midlands Police confirmed that, under normal circumstances, that would be acceptable," explained a Premier League spokesman.

"However, due to a planned English Defence League march that will take place in the region on Saturday 15 August, and will require police resource, they requested that the Premier League consider avoiding scheduling the match on that date.

"Manchester United's participation in the UEFA Champions League, and a potential European match the following Tuesday, means that a Sunday slot could not be scheduled with any certainty."

The Friday night encounter will be an interesting pilot for familiar slot that will be rolled out more regularly in the English top-flight from the start of 2016/17 as Sky Sports are planning to show ten different games live around the same time that term.

It does however present an interesting pilot of Friday night fixtures, which will begin from the 2016-17 season. Sky Sports won the rights to show 10 live Premier League matches on a Friday night.

Manchester United fans: Are you looking forward to the Friday night game against Aston Villa? Do you think it will prove a popular fixture schedule with Premier League supporters next season? Have your say below...

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Aston Villa

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