With that said, here is a look at the month’s fixtures and a brief review of August’s events.
(H) West Ham - Monday 16th of September
- 20:00 UK, 15:00 EDT & 12:00 PDT
- Record vs West Ham in Premier League: 13W-18D-9L
- West Ham’s fixtures heading into match:
(H) West Ham 0 – Manchester City 5
(A) Brighton 1 – West Ham 1
(A) Watford 1 – West Ham 3
(A – Carabao Cup) Newport County 0 – West Ham 2
(H) West Ham 2 – Norwich City 0
After the opening day hiding that the defending champions gave them, Manuel Pelligrini’s men have seemingly righted the ship and will be coming into Monday Fight Football with form that is trending in the right direction.
Part of the Hammers success has stemmed from the play of their £45m striker, Sébastien Haller. With three Premier League goals in three, Villa’s defence will do well to contain the in-form Haller.
This West Ham side - which some have said is their best ever in the EPL - have proven a bit capable of conceding goals. Hopefully their negative goal difference in the league gives Villa the impetus to get on the front foot at home and find the back of the net.
With the visiting side sitting in 7th and ambitiously eyeing European football, a win would certainly quell some of the angst that Villans might be feeling.
(A) Arsenal - Sunday 22nd of September
- 16:30 UK, 11:30 EDT & 08:30 PDT
- Record vs Arsenal in Premier League: 8W-14D-26L
- Arsenal’s fixtures heading into match:
(A) Newcastle 0 – Arsenal 1
(H) Arsenal 2 – Burnley 1
(A) Liverpool 3 – Arsenal 1
(H) Arsenal 2 – Spurs 2
(A – Europa League) Eintracht Frankfurt
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pépé – that is a pretty stellar group of attackers. With Arsenal playing in Frankfurt a few nights prior, perhaps the claret and blue can unexpectedly grab points in this one.
(A – Carabao Cup) Brighton - Wednesday 25th of September
- 19:45 UK, 14:45 EDT & 11:45 PDT
- Record vs Brighton in League Cup: First ever meeting
- Brighton’s fixtures heading into match:
(A) Newcastle 0 – Brighton 3
(H) Brighton 1 – West Ham 1
(H) Brighton 0 – Southampton 2
(A – Carabao Cup) Bristol Rovers 1 – Brighton 2
(A) Manchester City 4 – Brighton 0
If it were an EPL match, this would be a six-pointer. It is not, but could yet prove to be an important fixture.
After the victory that sent the claret and blue to the third round, Dean Smith said this:
“We’ve a proud history in this competition, and we wanted to go into the game making sure our attitude was right because we knew they were a bright team.
“We showed the importance of what this competition means to us.”
Given some of the criticism of his appointment, one suspects Graham Potter will likely feel the same about the League Cup.
A win at the AMEX – surely NSWE have a few of those - would hopefully start a cup run.
(H) Burnley - Saturday 28th of September
- 15:00 UK, 10:00 EDT & 7:00 PDT
- Record vs Burnley in Premier League: 1W-2D-1L
- Burnley’s fixtures heading into match
(H) Burnley 3 – Southampton 0
(A) Arsenal 2 – Burnley 1
(A) Wolves 1 – Burnley 1
(H – Carabao Cup) Burnley 1 – Sunderland 3
(H) Burnley 0 – Liverpool 3
(H) Norwich City
You look at Burnley’s prior fixtures and this, slightly lazy, IS A PROPER SIX-POINTER.
Aston Villa’s August
As the season progresses we’ll roundtable our thoughts. The last month produced my basic question and answer: Who were your top three performers of August?
James Rushton: I think Villa have enjoyed a lot of good performances this month. Good games against Everton and Crewe, a decent showing against Spurs as well.
I think my top three will match most - I’m going to go with Tom Heaton, Neil Taylor and Tyrone Mings.
Heaton has been superb, and he has genuinely saved us in most games.
Neil Taylor has stepped up his game and we don’t look out of sorts on the left. He was written off and has bounced back in some style.
And Tyrone Mings? He’s Tyrone bloody Mings! First England call-up and some dominant displays. We paid a lot for him, but it doesn’t seem an overpayment.
Alex Carson: I’m going to roll my first two answers into one description here, which are Björn Engels and Tyrone Mings. They’ve been a great centre-back pairing, and it’s shown in the last two Premier League matches, where Villa have conceded just one (counterattacking) goal despite ceding the run of play.
For the third, I’ve gotta agree with James and go for Tom Heaton. He’s been superb.
Robb Jones: It’s hard to not call on Mings, Engels and Heaton, but I think John McGinn warrants placement in that top 3. His goal to open the season was superb and at times when the team has been sputtering his energy and has shined through the morass. I can’t imagine where they’d be without his rambunctiousness.
Jake Fenicle: I can’t *not* go Heaton here as well. Kept us in the match against Spurs, ahead against Everton. Other than his 1st minute brain fart against Bournemouth, I’ve been damn impressed.
Now, I’ll cheat here like Alex but I’ll go and count it as one. Our center back pairing as one person is my second. Absolute rocks, one right-footed, one left. This Mings and Engels pairing could be the duo for awhile. I hope. Very impressed here
Last, in terms of who impressed me the most, I’ll go with Jota. This could be just because of the lower expectations I personally had for him, thinking he’d just sort of be in the rotation as a winger. Instead, he’s notched himself some key passes and some moments of skillful flair to really establish himself as a valuable asset to our side.
Andy Bates: I’m going to add Jota into the mix. He’s the type of player we’ve all seen doing great things at other clubs, silky skills, comfortable on the ball and an eye for creativity. I would like him to play more centrally but he adds something different to our options.
Engels has looked superb so far. Calm and assured, yet also dynamic. For £7m he looks a real find.
Neil Taylor has been the perennial scapegoat but he has shown his qualities particularly defensively. He does lack something in the final 3rd, but still has a willingness to get involved and rarely loses the ball or gets caught. He has stepped up to the PL very comfortably so far.
Phil Vogel: McGinn is the first name I think of. The man has scored, created, and run much of the attacks. For the other two - the defensive pair of Mings and Engels. The two have been a rock.
Sean Evans: I also have to go with Mings as well as Heaton. Not really much to add in terms of why – they look to be, give or take, £35m well spent.
By no means was he the third best performer overall, but I am going to add Douglas Luiz. Whilst it was clear throughout the month that he is capable of card as well as a mistake or two, I thought he showed plenty to suggest that he can make the defensive midfield role his.
It will certainly be interesting with the options that ‘Deano’ has available, but I think there is a real player there.
In case you missed it...
“A special mention has to go to Aston Villa’s John McGinn, or ‘McGinniesta’ as some call him. No disrespect to Tottenham’s record signing Tanguy Ndombele, who scored a wonderful goal, but McGinn looked like the £55million midfielder on the pitch at times.”
Jamie Redknapp gave a proper assessment.
One of the few feet that Tom Heaton put wrong combined with a deflection negated this:
I woke up from anaesthesia in time enough to see this:
“Get in...” were the words uttered, or so I think. These were the type of scenes that, if replicated, will allow Villa to kick on.
Speaking of replication, the trip to Gresty Road was a proper scoreline.
Those who have read this far will share the love for the club and this sentiment:
Six points and a cup victory in September would be sweet. UTV!