Two weeks ago, if you would’ve offered any Aston Villa fan the prospect of four points from the next two Premier League fixtures and a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup, they would’ve snapped your hand off. Now, after two late goals against Wycombe on Tuesday night, Villa have extended their unbeaten run to four games.
Are Aston Villa starting to see Remi Garde’s impact on the club? The players seem to be responding to his style on and off the pitch. The Frenchman shows a calm manner in the dugout, but after recent post match interviews and press conferences, you can tell he takes on a stern figure behind closed doors.
His recent criticism of the board resulted in Randy Learner handing over day to day running of the club to local businessman, Steve Hollis. Also, the treatment of Jack Grealish was well documented in the press and seemed harsh at the time, but again it seems the manager was right to place him in the reserves. Grealish will flourish and develop into a fine player, but all the fame came too soon, and he needed protecting. The youngster needs time to reflect and realize hard work makes you a better player, and the work isn’t done just because you’ve played a handful of Premier League matches. Next season we will see a more mature and overall better player.
The Villa boss has earned respect from managers all over Europe but was a surprise choice to succeed Tim Sherwood back in November. Since he was appointed, the critics have been burning the fire, asking whether a manager who hasn’t managed in the Premier League take over a club at the bottom of the table and turn it around?
His first 11 games told us he wasn’t the right man for the job, with Villa not picking up a single win, but things have changed after a win against Crystal Palace, holding top of the table Leicester City to a draw and overcoming a tricky banana skin in the Cup. Villa seemed to be in the process of turning their season around. The manager said after the Leicester game if he’d been there from the start of the season, Villa wouldn’t be in that position. I think he’s right.
The players are trying to adapt to Garde’s style of one-touch football. Under Tim Sherwood and in previous seasons, Villa have relied on the long ball, with Christian Benteke playing the target man. Before Benteke, it was John Carew, but now with Carles Gill playing the number 10 role, Villa have the chance to play exciting, fluid football.