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.
The major problem, though, is that this group of Villa players don’t have the skill to execute this style ,and we saw switching back to long ball football worked against a big Leicester defense. We learned Saturday that short passing football is all well and good on the eye. but for now it’s victories Villa need, and adding Rudy Gestade alongside Libor Kozak could be a partnership that could really upset central defenders.
Recently Garde’s had to sustain frustration among the fans about the lack of transfer activity in this window, but what player would join a team that are bottom of the league and 10 points from safety? Too be honest, who is available for Villa to sign?
Reports have linked fellow Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy from Arsenal. This would be a welcome transfer, as fullback is a position where Villa have struggled, with Alan Hutton under performing.
Second transfer rumor comes from Italy, with ex-Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic recently released by Inter Milan. Reportedly Vidic would welcome a return back to England. Could Remi Garde relight the spark that made the Serbian such a colossus?
Finally, the final player to be linked with the club is Leicester City midfielder Gokhan Inler. This would be a fantastic signing. He’s been unlucky not to be starting at King Power Stadium, and the Swiss international would bring a wealth of experience and power to the midfield, something that’s been missing since the departure of Fabian Delph.
Adding these three players to the roster would steady the back line and give players such as Idrissa Gueye the freedom to move forward. And adding a goalscorer to the mix such as Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace could give Villa more of a chance against their opposition.
Let’s just face the facts, Aston Villa are a poor football team, but survival is still a possibility, and what’s been evident in recent performances is a positive. If Remi Garde is given time to implement his style of football then he’ll prove the critics wrong and show them he was the right man for the job, whether that’s in the Premier League or the Championship.
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