By Amir Mir
Aston Villa picked up their sixth draw of the season when they scored a late equaliser against Newcastle on Saturday night.
Roberto Di Matteo’s side have not started the season as they would have liked having picked up nine points from their opening nine encounters and sitting in 17th place in the Championship.
Aaron Tshibola scored an 88th minute header from the substitutes bench at the weekend to rescue a 1-1 draw for the Italian, who has not registered a win since August.
Here are the three things we learned from Villa’s draw with Newcastle:
A defining month ahead for Di Matteo
The Italian needs to start turning draws into wins, else his time at Villa Park will be shortlived considering the amount of money he spent during the summer.
He has the chance to do that against Barnsley on Tuesday night, but October will be a defining month for the former Champions League winning manger.
Villa travel to Preston on Saturday afternoon, before hosting Midlands rivals Wolves, followed by a trip Jap Stam’s Reading, then hosting Fulham, before rounding the month off with a trip to City rivals Birmingham.
Tshibola over Westwood
Tshibola’s performance in the second-half from the substitutes bench indicated that if Di Matteo wants to field a midfield two, then the new summer recruit outshines the experienced Westwood.
The 21-year-old showed energy and positivity as his late headed goal rescued a point for Villa, but the youngster provided more for his side in 45 minutes then Westwood did in 90 minutes.
Kodjia is a magnificent purchase
Jonathan Kodjia arrived at Villa Park for a hefty fee of £11 million, which could rise to £15 million depending on performance; making it a Championship transfer record.
But the forwards ability on the ball has impressed many and the Ivory Coast international could be the man to lead the line amongst a strong number of Villa attackers.
The 26-year-old’s ability to run with the ball, use his pace, strength and quick feet will go on to perhaps prove to be the best summer signing from Di Matteo over the course of the season.
In other Aston Villa team news, Di Matteo is expected to line-up with a 4-3-3 formation against Barnsley, with this star midfielder making a return.