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October Preview & September Review: It’s a big one

After a frustrating September that saw Aston Villa miss opportunities and lose out on points, this month’s fixtures are all the more important.

A second England call up for this man has given supporters something to smile about as October kicks off.
Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

You could say that it was not a September to remember for Aston Villa. The problem with that is many supporters will have a hard time forgetting the claret and blue’s Premier League fixtures.

Amidst positives a combination of misfortune, VAR and the inability to capitalize on advantages led to Dean Smith’s men missing out on points. Ideally last month’s results will not prove to be as crucial as they might currently seem to tormented Villans.

With that said, Villa could easily be in the top half of the table heading into October. Instead they sit 18th – in the relegation zone – and face three important league matches as well as a fourth round Carabao Cup tie.

Here is a preview of those fixtures and a look back – if you so choose – at last month’s results:

(A) Norwich City - Saturday 5th of October

  • 15:00 UK, 10:00 EDT & 07:00 PDT
  • Record vs Norwich City in the Premier League: 7W-5D-4L
  • Norwich City’s September fixtures:

(H) Norwich City 3 – Manchester City 2

(A) Burnley 2 – Norwich City 0

(A) Crystal Palace 2 – Norwich City 0

As the Birmingham Mail found on social media, many Norwich City supporters are calling Saturday’s clash at Carrow Road a massive fixture.

With both teams newly promoted to the Premier League and sitting 17th as well as 18th in the table, it is hard to argue against the match being an early season six-pointer.

Daniel Farke’s side currently sits on six points whilst having accrued those with two home wins – an August victory against Newcastle and last month’s shock victory over Manchester City.

As Statsbomb pointed out, whilst winning the Championship last season, The Canaries played a “swashbuckling” system of play very capable of producing goals. In that campaign, Norwich won both the home and away against Villa.

There were obvious questions as to whether that would translate into the top flight. Unfortunately for Aston Villa, thus far the answer to those questions seems to be that it can, at home.

Norwich have scored eight in three at home. However, the good news for the claret and blue heading into the fixture is that only Watford (20) have conceded more league goals thus far. Not only that, Farke still faces a multitude of first-team injury concerns.

After the start to the season, it would be ideal if the back four can earn their third clean sheet of the Premier League campaign and Villa can grab some goals to walk out with all three points. Though one suspects both sides will find the back of the net.

Either way, a win could prove to be huge.

(H) Brighton - Saturday 19th of October

  • 15:00 UK, 10:00 EDT & 07:00 PDT
  • Record vs Brighton in the Premier League: First ever meeting
  • Brighton’s September and October fixtures:

(H) Brighton 1 – Burnley 1

(A) Newcastle 0 – Brighton 0

(H – Carabao Cup) Brighton 1 – ASTON VILLA 3

(A) Chelsea 2 – Brighton 0

(H) Tottentham

The article from a massive American sports media company that boldly predicted Graham Potter’s side to finish 6th or 7th after they took four points from their first two is seemingly no longer on the internet.

Suffice to say, after that start the Seagulls have not exactly flown to such lofty heights. Going into the month of October they sit 16th in the table with one more point than Villa (i.e. 6).

No matter how their home match against a wounded Spurs team or the claret and blue’s fixture at Norwich play out, this is also likely an early season six-pointer.

If you are a Villan that disappeared for the last month you might just be seeing that Dean Smith’s side defeated Brighton 3-1 on the road last month in the Carabao Cup.

Whilst Villa did very much control that match – which unfortunately very few saw outside of those who made the trip to the South Coast – the claret and blue faced a shockingly young lineup.

Thus it is hard to say how much ‘Deano’ as well as supporters can take from that victory in terms of what they will face at Villa Park after the international break.

Many supporters will simply be hoping that Villa can learn from the recent past and notch their second home victory of the campaign. Again, such a result might be pivotal down the line.

(A) Manchester City - Sunday 26th of October

  • 12:30 UK, 7:40 EDT & 04:30 PDT
  • Record vs Manchester City in the Premier League: 7W-9D-22L
  • Manchester City’s September and October fixtures:

(A) Norwich City 3 – Manchester City 2

(A – Champions League) Shaktar Donetsk 0 Manchester City 3

(A) Manchester City 8 – Watford 0

(A – Carabao Cup) Preston North End 0 – Manchester City 3

(A) Everton 1 – Manchester City 3

(H – Champions League) Manchester City 2 – Dinamo Zagreb 0

(H) Wolves

(A) Crystal Palace

(H – Champions League) Atalanta

Norwich City gave many hope and then well dear me – Watford happened.

Not a fixture that many circled on their calendars as one in which Aston Villa would come away with anything. It will be played and you just picture John McGinn at the Etihad doing something along these lines:

Any sort of result would be absolute limbs.

(H – Carabao Cup) Wolves - Wednesday 30th of October

  • 19:45 UK, 15:45 EDT & 12:45 PDT
  • Record vs Wolves in the League Cup: 4W-1D-0L
  • Wolves’ September and October fixtures:

(A) Everton 3 – Wolves 2

(H) Wolves 2Chelsea 5

(H – Europa League) Wolves 0 – S.C. Braga 0

(A) Crystal Palace 1 – Wolves 1

(H – Carabao Cup) Wolves 1 (4) – Reading 1 (2)

(H) Wolves 2 – Watford 0

(A – Europa League) Beşiktaş 0 - Wolves 1

(A) Manchester City

(H) Southampton

(A – Europa League) - ŠK Slovan Bratislava

(A) Newcastle

Drawing a local rival at home in the round of 16 of the League Cup has created a buzz amongst Aston Villa’s supporters.

Wolves’ victories over Watford and Beşiktaş might be construed as a sign that Nuno Espírito Santo has righted the ship of last season’s Premier League surprise package. However, the number of fixtures that Wolverhampton have headed into Villa Park in late October will surely verify if that is indeed the case.

The claret and blue have this cup-tie sandwiched between matches with Manchester City as well as Liverpool. For Wolves, the trip to the B6 will be their fourth match in seven days with Arsenal coming to the Molineux just three days later.

Whilst a lot can happen between now and then, one could surmise that ‘Deano’ might be able to field a stronger side in this one. Either way, this should be a feisty mid-week affair.

If Villa can add a fifth win to their historical tally and move onto the quarterfinals – who knows from there?

Aston Villa’s October

Our staff answers the following: After the start to the season, what are your hopes for October in terms of results (i.e. for Villa as well as league wide) and individual players?

Andy Bates: For me it’s simple. Win that home game against Brighton. The home results have to start coming in. A positive result at Norwich would give us a boost too. Man City at this point is a right off. There’s also the small matter of Wolves in the cup, which I hope we take seriously. In terms of individuals I hope Wesley grabs a couple of goals to get the crowd off his back!

Jake Fenicle: We need to win games in general. 3 points goes so far this early in the season. If we hold our leads and get the 3 points against arsenal and Burnley, we’re inside the top half with a positive GD. Instead, we’re in the bottom 3. Gotta know how to get results in this league to stay up, it’s not a forgiving one. 7 games in now and I hope we can finally say we’ve learned from the mistakes. 4 points minimum needed from these next two games, then we buckle up for the tough run.

Sean Evans: It is a bit redundant at this point for me as in both previous monthly previews, I’ve wanted 6 to 7 points. The former seems more realistic in October. Beating Norwich as well as Brighton now could be massive later on.

I am with Andy. I think it is big for Wesley to add to his two goal tally. Though I am not sure it is entirely fair to expect a 22-year old from the Belgian league to come in and immediately tear up trees - we probably were spoiled by Benteke. I also wouldn’t mind Jack bagging one or two as it seems some to need to see that in order to rate his importance to the side.

Because I picked Leicester to be the surprise package of the league, I am intrigued to see if they can push on - particularly this weekend at Anfield.

James Rushton: October has been a historically awful month for us, and our managers... I think a few wins, good performances win/lose/draw and progression in the League Cup are the aims. We could get out of the month with decent results.

Big focus on Wesley. I’m not totally worried, but I can’t discard my fears. We need him to get involved, and he’ll know that himself.

Phil Vogel: I’m watching Jack. McGinn has taken all the headlines (deservedly so) and it is time for Jack to step up with more goals and assists. I’m not saying Jack has been poor -- but his ceiling is higher and he needs to improve.

Sean Evans: That is definitely fair, as you don’t see him mentioned in the England conversation like he was a few months ago.

Alex Carson: Unlike pretty much everyone Villa’s played so far to some degree, Norwich and Brighton are both actually bad (more Brighton). Villa need four points minimum from those two before settling for a nice, non-GD-killing 2-0 defeat or something at City.

In case you missed September…

Aston Villa 0 – West Ham 0

It was a hard fought match that had a little bit of everything except Villa being able to capitalize on the Hammers going down to ten men with 23 minutes remaining. The night certainly left many frustrated and tormented.

Arsenal 3 – Aston Villa 2

It is about the 8:52 mark onward where it starts to get really distressing:

VAR not doing the job aside, the match left plenty to talk about. Simply put, Villa should have left North London with at least point.

Brighton 1 – Aston Villa 3 (Carabao Cup)

If you have listened to the latest Holtecast, you will know that it was a long journey back for the players, staff as well as supporters. Brighton might have played the youngsters, but the journey was worth it as the claret and blue moved on:

Aston Villa 2 – Burnley 2

There were definitely a number of positives in the match – but the agony continued – as any bit of marvelousness did not lead to Dean Smith’s side taking all three points.

September has ended. Let’s hope we wake up on Saturday to watch Aston Villa hand Norwich City a home defeat. UTV!