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Steven Gerrard’s appointment at Aston Villa a success so far!

22 November 2021 | Premier League | Opinion
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Steven Gerrard’s appointment at Aston Villa a success so far!
Bruce Alan Bennett / Shutterstock.com

Twenty years ago, moving from the Scottish champions, Rangers, to a mid-table Premier League team such as Aston Villa wouldn’t have been a big jump.

In 2021, with the Premier League’s financial might and the gulf between the two leagues is incredible. The distance between quality and money did not stop the Aston Villa from hiring Steven Gerrard, however.

The former Liverpool player, who is desperate to become Jurgen Klopp’s successor at Anfield, took the Aston Villa job with the intent of showing the world Rangers’ Scottish title in 2020-21 was no fluke.

Gerrard’s debut with Aston Villa went exactly the way the manager would have wanted. The Villains claimed a 2-0 win against a Brighton team that has impressed plenty of football pundits this season.

Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings scored in the game’s final five minutes as Aston Villa soaked up pressure to score two vital goals.

To say Aston Villa dominated the match would be an overstatement. The Villains kept just 37% of the possession, but outshot Brighton 9-6, with five shots hitting the target compared to the visitors’ two.

Gerrard, perhaps showing his desire to coach Liverpool even more, set Aston Villa out in a 4-3-3 formation. Wakins, Danny Ings, and Emi Buendia played in the front three with Marvelous Nakamba, John McGinn, and Jacob Ramsey in the middle of the park.

It wasn’t the most impressive midfield three in terms of names. Yet, the trio did the job for Gerrard. He built Rangers’ title win on a strong defence in 2020-21. Rangers conceded a mere 13 goals in 38 Scottish Premiership games.

Perhaps the biggest help Gerrard has already given Aston Villa is the clean sheet they kept against Brighton. Aston Villa had conceded 20 goals in 11 matches under Smith. The Villains had kept three clean sheets in the league previously against Newcastle United, Manchester United and Everton.

Aston Villa’s 2-0 win over Brighton ended a five-match losing streak at the club, which got former coach Dean Smith the sack – and later hired by Norwich City.

Gerrard now has an unenviable run of fixtures upcoming. Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Leicester City will play Aston Villa across the next four Premier League matches. It is a difficult run of games, but Gerrard has so far given the team the new-manager boost it needed.

Although those three names sound big, all three clubs are having plenty of scoring problems this term. Gerrard still has a big task on his hands. Aston Villa have just 13 points from 36 this season. Four points separate them from 18th-place Burnley, who drew against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Norwich City and former Aston Villa coach Smith won versus Southampton. Even lowly Newcastle United got a point versus Brentford.

Gerrard’s first task at Villa Park is to avoid relegation. If the team goes down, it would damage any hopes Gerrard has to be Klopp’s Anfield successor. He isn’t just playing for Aston Villa’s Premier League status; he is playing for his Liverpool managerial future.

Thirteenth-place Southampton are separated with 20th-place Newcastle United by just eight points. The bottom of the table’s relegation battle looks to be just as exciting as the race for the title this term.

Gerrard has the players to keep Aston Villa in the league and to make them far hard to defeat than previously under Smith.

Premier League
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1
Manchester City 35 15 11 2 2 32 9 23
2
Liverpool 34 15 10 4 1 44 12 32
3
Chelsea 33 15 10 3 2 35 9 26
4
West Ham 27 15 8 3 4 28 19 9
5
Tottenham 25 14 8 1 5 16 17 -1
6
Manchester United 24 15 7 3 5 25 24 1
7
Arsenal 23 15 7 2 6 18 22 -4
8
Wolverhampton 21 15 6 3 6 12 13 -1
9
Brighton 20 15 4 8 3 14 16 -2
10
Aston Villa 19 15 6 1 8 21 24 -3
11
Leicester City 19 15 5 4 6 23 27 -4
12
Everton 18 15 5 3 7 19 25 -6
13
Brentford 17 15 4 5 6 19 21 -2
14
Crystal Palace 16 15 3 7 5 19 21 -2
15
Leeds United 16 15 3 7 5 15 22 -7
16
Southampton 16 15 3 7 5 14 21 -7
17
Watford 13 15 4 1 10 20 29 -9
18
Burnley 10 14 1 7 6 14 21 -7
19
Newcastle United 10 15 1 7 7 17 30 -13
20
Norwich City 10 15 2 4 9 8 31 -23

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