There is this thing around Leeds that I simply don't get. Sure, they had a time under David O'Leary where they were playing in the Champions League, but David O'Leary took them backwards and continued that decline with us. But that's because football began with the Premier League.

Before that, they were the last Club to win the League in it's more honest format and during the 60's and 70's they were known as a Club that were there or thereabouts. But it was short lived and it may never come back for them, much like it will probably never come back for us.

But things are looking better this season and that will create optimism for them. Garry Monk took over in June and new manager syndrome has well and truly kicked in. This is the same Monk that was manager of Swansea and touted as one of the best British managers around with the likes of Paul Lambert and Brendan Rodgers at the time. The British media are great at touting young unproven managers as talented.

This Club will determine if Monk is a decent manager though. Fail here and he might as well retire but if he succeeds, he'll be back at the big table.

Steve Bruce was never touted as a manager like that (okay he probably was), he just went out and delivered. And that is why we're in a better place, four points behind Leeds who are sitting fifth. And a message for the manager; expectations are not growing, they are set.

That message is on the back of the manager trying to control expectations. The truth is and he knows this, expectations are promotion. For a few of us, we see it as automatic, everyone else would be happy with top six. But the ones that would be happy with top six are the ones that will the last ones to figure out that we might very well be a great Championship Club.

We're still a 'work in progress' but there's been a huge improvement in seven weeks and we're now finding a way to win. With players like Albert Adomah, Jonathan Kodjia, Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew, we're showing a little bit of quality at the top end.

That was the manager talking yesterday or the day before. He said other things, but that stood out for me. And he should also know that the expectations were set before he arrived and they're set because of the size of Aston Villa. That we started so poorly is nothing on him, but it's why his reward will be greater if he gets us up. That we started so poorly is on the CEO and the owner for appointing someone with so little experience.

So this isn't anyone having a pop at the manager. It's actually me telling the manager that I believe that finishing in an automatic place is possible and that I believe he'll make it happen. I'm writing it simple, for those that may think this was a negative comment towards the manager, when in fact, it's the absolute opposite.

Leeds and December

And this is an important month for Aston Villa. There are six matches in December, we play Leeds twice and if we get the same points as we have done from the past six matches, then we will be, just inside the top six (using the chart as the basis for this). I think we'll get just a little more and I think we will most definitely be in the top six come the end of the month.

And that's something else I have to write because I'm super optimistic under Bruce. I just hope that he wasn't brought in too late and I also write that because he has done nothing wrong so far and you could even argue that he's beaten expectations, seeing as I started to write about expectations. So it's all good.

But this month will set us up for the rest of the season and it will show the rest of the League that we mean business. Leeds will be tough, because they're doing well and Monk will have them believing, but three points on Saturday will set us up for the rest of this month and if there were any expectations, I'd expect to win this weekend, but Mr Bruce, you've brought that on yourself.

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Author: Damian
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Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.