It's hard to believe we've had football back since August, isn't it? We're almost done with the third calendar month of the season, and Aston Villa haven't looked too great. They currently sit in 16th, and are separated from dead last by a mere three points. (To be fair, three added points would move them up and equivalent five spots or so.)
But it doesn't take much in this league to turn around people's feelings about your team. The club have three matches left in the month, two of which are in the league, and one of which is for a cup. Win all three of those, and I imagine people are ecstatic. I'd also imagine that they'd move up to a much more comfortable 12th or 13th in the table. But winning three would be tough, and maybe an unrealistic request, so this week we're looking at what would be considered acceptable over the rest of the month.
This week's question: In the remaining bit of October, Aston Villa have EPL matches against Fulham (away) and Norwich City (home) as well as a League Cup match against Swindon Town (away). What, in your opinion, is a good result from those three?
As always, we hope to see your answers in the comments below!
Matt: Well, I'd say the Cup game against Swindon is something we must win. Because it's Swindon, and if we lose to DiCanio, I'm gonna start throwing stuff. As far as the league games go, Fulham is good, and I'm not expecting any points there. Would be happy with a draw and thrilled with a win. I think Norwich is a game we really should be winning. So with the two league games: 1-2 points=meh, 3-4=fine, 6 points=HAIL KING LAMBBEAR.
Aaron: Fulham is playing fairly well so far this season, and I'm not especially optimistic with the way they match up with Villa. I think expecting anything from that game is very optimistic. Norwich City at home, however, is a game Villa almost have to win; Norwich has been awful so far this season, and while I think everyone is prepared to deal with some inconsistency against everyone from mid-table upward, Villa just cannot drop points against relegation candidates at home. Anything but a win in that game is unacceptable. The same could be said for Swindon, but I can definitely see a case for a loss or even draw to Norwich being a much bigger blow to the season than getting upset in the League Cup.
Kirsten: We have to beat Norwich. Can you imagine the response if we don't beat PL's old side? I also think it's necessary to beat Swindon. The comeback against Manchester City was what buoyed spirits, and a lengthy cup run might be what gives the club hope and also prevents them from doing anything drastic midseason -- by which I mean not just a firing of Lambert but a huge outlay of capital for an English player come January.
Fulham, eh, I'm not expecting much. I just want it to be better than last year's trip to Craven Cottage, by which I mean I want Villa to try for more than a point. If they succeed, well, ecstasy.
Andrew: I've started feeling very pessimistic recently and it's not because I don't think Paul Lambert is making progress (I think he is) but I just don't know how Aston Villa is going to figure out a way to keep us from worrying about the drop all season. That being said the Swindon match is all fun and what not but if I'm Lambert I'm playing as many backups as I can in that one with the aim of getting a minimum of 2 points from the league matches. Points in the league are becoming critical and I don't want them to become scarce. I think Fulham away is going to be extremely difficult and will be delighted with a draw. Norwich at home should be a win. I guarantee you fans of other clubs see Villa on the fixture list and pencil in 1-3 points. Hopefully an unbeaten run is in the cards for Villa to build separation from the bottom three.
Gareth: The trickiest thing about the upcoming fixtures is this Swindon match. It is by far the least consequential, since it's easy opposition and Aston Villa really shouldn't be concerning themselves with a cup run this early in the rebuilding process. However, losing to Swindon would shatter morale at a crucial time for Lambert, much like Liverpool's elimination at the hands of Northampton Town sounded the death knell for Roy Hodgson a couple of years back.
As Andrew implies, both Fulham and Norwich will be counting on Villa being an easy out. Fulham have every right to, as they're a superior team and have a good home record. Norwich, like Southampton, have nothing to lose and will be motivated by Paul Lambert's presence in the Villa dugout. Villa won't beat Fulham, but they have to impress against Norwich to stop the rot.
Robert: I expect nothing from Fulham. A loss would suck, but be okay, a draw would be great, and a win would send me running around yelling about how great this club is. The Norwich match is one - as everyone has said - that the club absolutely must win. Especially if they lost to Fulham. Norwich is rubbish this year, and it would be just miserable to lose to them. That'd be like losing to Southampton or something.
As for Swindon, this is the one I feel the most invested in. Aston Villa aren't going to give us much to be happy about this year, so a cup run would be great for making this season bearable. It's okay if they drop out, I guess. But man, that would really suck. I imagine I'm getting a knot in my stomach thinking about this for no reason though. I can't really see Villa losing this.