Remi Garde was finally announced as the new Aston Villa manager on Monday, but that was the end of the good news for the Villains.
That evening the squad travelled to White Hart Lane, hoping to secure three points from Tottenham- a difficult feat against an in form side, brimming with confidence after a 5-1 win at Bournemouth. Having suffered 6 successive Premier League defeats prior to the match, and having captain Micah Richards serving a one match ban, things weren’t looking too optimistic.
Garde sat in the stands and looked on as the team he had just signed up to lost 3-1, conceding within the first 3 minutes and clawing back one lucky goal due to a deflection. Maybe not the most impressive first game to witness, but a good indicator as to what work needs to be done- where to start?
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan has only managed to keep 2 clean sheets this season in all competitions: the first PL match against Bournemouth and the cup match against local rivals Birmingham. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again- Guzan is not good enough to play in this league. Fumble after mistake after poor kick, he can’t seem to get much right; even the home fans cheer when he manages to land a goal kick within the white line perimeter.
Conceding is only half of game though; if you’re scoring more than you let in, then you still get points. Unfortunately for Villa they can’t seem to hit the back of the net either.
Taking the ball forward can be a trial at times, but when an attack does happen there never seems to be anyone in the box ready to finish it off. Villa have talented players going forward- Carles Gil, Jack Grealish, Jordan Ayew- but they don’t always have the backup they need; it can often seem like a one man mission. In fact, many crosses into danger areas have been supplied by defender Alan Hutton. An example of the lack of action up front can be displayed by the fact that Gaby Agbonlahor only had 8 touches of the ball before being taken off for the second half against Spurs. Dire.
Remi is going to have a challenge ahead of him with this team for sure, not made any easier by the fact that their next 5 fixtures include Manchester City (H), Southampton (A), and Arsenal (H). After training with them and getting his bearings, there’s no doubt Garde will have ideas on how to modify the team for the better, but if he wants any transfers then there might be some head collisions with Mr Lerner.
A young team with an inexperienced manager could be a recipe for relegation, or maybe Remi Garde could be the breath of fresh air they are in desperate need of- only time will tell.