The cliche goes that ‘everybody can beat everybody in the Championship’, but one glance at the Premier League table suggests that bar Liverpool, the same applies in the Premier League this season.
With over a third of the season gone, the table has an odd look to it. The top four have already established themselves, with a seven point gap to fifth place, with Leicester City once again gatecrashing the status quo.
But after the front runners, only six points separates Wolves in 5th on 19 points and West Ham in 17th on 13 points.
After their 2-0 win against Newcastle, Aston Villa moved to 15th place on 14 points, joining 10 other Premier League teams who have managed four wins in their 13 games, so far.
It’s a curious stat to think most of the Premier League teams have only managed to win 30% of their games.
Villa have gone ahead in eight of their league games this season, which is a positive sign, considering that stat is only bettered by the current top four, Manchester United and Spurs. The problem is though, no other team has managed to lose as many games (3) from winning positions.
A third clean sheet this season, against Newcastle, is hopefully a sign that such frailty could cease during the rest of the season.
The ‘Four Win’ club is a curious sight though in the Premier League and when Villa consider lost points against the 10-men of both Arsenal and West Ham, and other missed opportunities like the Burnley and Liverpool games, the frustration of what could have been kicks in.
The fact Villa could have been sitting in the top six, gives rise to optimism that it’s potentially a matter of ironing out the self-inflicted mistakes in the second half of the season, to dramatically progress as a team.
Considering Villa will have played Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City away from home in the first half of the season, means the back half of the season should be more favourable.
Villa have a new and young team, that should fare better in the second half of the season, aided by increasing familiarity and experience (and hopefully a couple of new signings).
December will certainly be a defining month. With the seven league fixtures taking Villa over the half-way mark of the season, before the new year starts.
Two of these games (Chelsea away and Norwich at home) will be screened live on Amazon Prime, which you can see on a free trial, if you’re not a Prime member already.
If Villa can get anything from their forthcoming back-to-back trips against United and Chelsea, and then the home clash with the high-flying Foxes, then it will give them the confidence to get a decent haul from the consecutive Christmas games against the current bottom three.
A decent haul there should get them up for the new year.
Villa have already proved they can be competitive against any Premier League team, so when you consider all the factors above and the fact Dean Smith will probably add a couple of new faces to the mix, 2020 could see Villa step up a major gear.