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7500 Roundtable: What should be the expectation for Villa’s next 6 games?

Here we go again! Six games in 22 days before the next international break. How well can Aston Villa do?

Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

This season never stops for Aston Villa. Except when it stops, of course.

Villa had seven games in 23 days before the October international break. Now that club football is back, they have another six matches in the space of 22 days before yet another international break in November:

  • October 22 - West Ham United (H)
  • October 26 - AZ Alkmaar (A)
  • October 29 - Luton Town (H)
  • November 5 - Nottingham Forest (A)
  • November 9 - AZ Alkmaar (H)
  • November 12 - Fulham (A)

It’s a crucial run, there’s no doubt about that, with four eminently winnable league games and the Europa Conference League group stage double-header against last season’s UECL semi-finalists.

What’s a reasonable expectation for this six-game run? We asked some of our writing staff for their thoughts.

Phil Vogel (@PBVogel)

All the matches are winnable, which is a wonderful feeling of confidence in the squad.

That said, Villa will not win them all because that isn’t how football works. Away to AZ Alkmaar is the toughest of the lot because Europe is different and AZ are a top team and semi-finalists from last year’s European Conference. Hosting Luton at Villa Park is the easiest, but also no guarantee.

Realistically, 13 points is the goal, and 10 the minimum expectation. Luton and Fulham at Villa Park should be wins. AZ at Villa Park may be a must-win depending on other results including Villa’s trip to the Netherlands, where I’m expecting a loss and would take a point right now, if offered. West Ham and Forest are probably a win and a draw, respectively.

If you are making me pick them all [editor’s note: we are], 13 points.

  • West Ham United (H) — Win
  • AZ Alkmaar (A) — Loss
  • Luton Town (H) — Win
  • Nottingham Forest (A) — Draw
  • AZ Alkmaar (H) — Win
  • Fulham (A) — Win
Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Oliver Hawthorn (@AVFCOliver)

These six upcoming games feel pivotal, as they are a real chance for Villa to cement themselves in the top six of the Premier League whilst also hopefully pulling clear in their Europa Conference League group.

First up is a very difficult game at home to David Moyes’ obdurate but effective counter-attacking Hammers, who have started 2023-24 in good form and their style seems to suit playing on their travels as we saw against Brighton recently. They also always seem to cause us issues. Villa are great at home, though, so I’m expecting a 2-2 draw.

A win in Alkmaar would be massive for Villa’s prospects in the group and I fancy us to be on it from the first whistle and beat them. Then, surely Villa will beat a spirited but hugely limited Luton Town at home if we have any desire to be taken seriously amongst the league’s elite, even despite the fact we might be jaded after the European game.

Steve Cooper’s Forest side will also pose a challenge to Villa’s credentials at a raucous City Ground, but it’s a test I fancy Villa to come through with flying colours. The return fixture with Alkmaar may well decide Villa’s fate in the group, and depending on how taxing the Forest game is, a draw will hopefully suffice here.

As for Fulham, I can’t work Marco Silva’s side out this term, but Villa should have enough to edge them aside, especially at Villa Park.

14 points from the six matches in all competitions

  • West Ham United (H) — Draw
  • AZ Alkmaar (A) — Win
  • Luton Town (H) — Win
  • Nottingham Forest (A) — Win
  • AZ Alkmaar (H) — Draw
  • Fulham (A) — Win

Dan Pritchard (@1874Pritch)

With the next two Europa Conference League matches against AZ Alkmaar likely to decide who will top Group E and avoid playing a Europa League outcast, Unai Emery will be quite thankful for the simpler fixture list in the league post-West Ham United.

We should continue our home form against the Hammers, b

ut they absolutely have the tools and form to end it, as only Man City and Liverpool have been able to take all three points from David Moyes’ men. After that, Villa play three of the Premier League’s bottom eight, two of them at fortress Villa Park, so it’s a great chance to get some points on the board and put ourselves in the driver’s seat for European spots.

Nine points from a possible 12 would be a good haul, and four points against Alkmaar should make topping Group E a formality.

The simpler opposition will put the spotlight on our attacking play. Villa are creating chances worth almost two goals per match (fourth in the division) so it should be fun to watch, but we have been conceding too many chances (1.6 goals per match, 12th in PL). Emery should aim for clean sheets, it is a good chance to establish our out-of-possession identity as well as give league minutes to rotation players like Clement Lenglet, Diego Carlos, and Youri Tielemans. The real test of our longevity in the top eight will be if Villa can remain thrilling going forward while keeping it tight at the back.

  • West Ham United (H) — Win
  • AZ Alkmaar (A) — Draw
  • Luton Town (H) — Win
  • Nottingham Forest (A) — Draw
  • AZ Alkmaar (H) — Win
  • Fulham (A) — Win
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images