McGrath: We ARE improving
Aston Villa had a awesome pre-season, not a bad start but it was not until this month when they showed there steal! Yes they won just once this month but in Manchester City and Hull City, they found two sides who had played completely at the top of there game.
First up was Huddersfield, who were bottom and with Villa in such good form, you would have expected a comfortable win. It was very comfortable but the result says different. Goals from Gabby Agbonlahor and Dorin Rotariu were enough to see The Villans through the match with Huddersfield grabbing a very late consolation goal.
Next up was an absolute classic! Aston Villa/Manchester City matches have been entertaining now for the last six
encounters with including this match, a massive 30 goals have been scored. It was Man City that came off best this time though, coming through to win 5-4. Villa though got all the credit, last season they would just give up when behind but this season they have a never say die attitude and it nearly paid off as goals from Volland (x2), Rotariu and a Stones penalty caused a grandstand finish when Grealish smashed the ball against the bar for City to hold on to a slender but very valuable win.
Hull City were also just outstanding in there 3-1 victory against Villa too. I remember seeing Tom Huddlestone at Spurs on occasions run a match and he did it for Hull in this match as he set two up and scored one himself on the way to Man Of The Match and giving Hull there first victory. Villa actually played well but on this occasion they were beaten by the better side.
Rondon is scoring well this season with 4 in 6 after his big money move from Spurs
The last game of the month was against Everton and The Villans will be wondering what if
after this match. Salomon Rondon gave Villa the lead on the 14th minute at The Ricoh Arena with a crisp left footed drive that should never have gone in at the near post and the Villa controlled the game perfectly. Ramognoli, Vlaar and Stones dominated Lukaku and Remy but the goal came from the most unlikely, but likely sources for Everton as Gareth Barry pushed back the years to score his first goal of the season after wonderful play from Kevin Mirallas to give Everton, rather unfairly a share of the spoils.
The Manager's Opinion
I thought we did well this month, the results might not show it but we are still in the top reaches of the EE Premier League and the fans love the football we are playing. We are no longer scared of the Man City's and Man Utd's and this was shown after the match when City's manager, Leonard Slutskiy thought we would be an outside bet for the last Champions League place. Are we ready for that yet? I do not think so but we are not far off now. We were unlucky against Man City and Everton and were beaten by the better side in the match against Hull, who incidentally played like Champions and we are only moving up the table.
Villa Player Of The Month
This was a very difficult one to choose because this month so many players had played well. I am going to give it to Yohan Cabaye, who although has been quiet on the scoring front this month, has dominated the midfield for us and that is important for the CM's to do as we have such an attacking four, whoever they would be up top.
With the top 9 separated by just 6 points, the league early on looks tight. Arsenal, as usual are top but do not expect that to last and with Chelsea just behind, they are already looking threatening and are also unbeaten along with Arsenal and also Everton, who nearly were defeated last time out at 6th placed Villa. West Brom and Stoke are in the top 4 early on this season with United 8th, City 9th and Liverpool 11th. Huddersfield, Wigan and Fulham are in the bottom three.