Looking at the rest of the season.
It has been a long and difficult season for Aston Villa fans.
From the highs of our time under head coach and one of our own, Dean Smith, which saw a fantastic end of season unbeaten run in the Championship to return us to our rightful place in the Premier League via the Play Off and Wembley route, we also secured our status in the top flight and kicked on into the middle of the table – and it should have been Europe before things fell away.
Sadly, things kept falling away and our 2021/22 Premier League season turned quickly from being one of hope with the £100 million departure of Academy talisman Jack Grealish to Manchester City. Despite a big summer spend, new faces in the camp took time to settle and Smith was again largely unable to get the best out of the team without Jack being at the forefront, and after five straight defeats, we parted company and some fans would have already been looking for online betting tips for cricket as they looked to the summer and their other favourite sport.
There was a renew of hope for many in the fanbase following the appointment of Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, and we also saw Gary McAllister return to the club following his earlier spell with Gerard Houllier. The former England international had a reasonably bright start to life at Villa Park, and we even saw a subtle change of approach under our new owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens when it came to the January transfer market as both Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne arrived at Bodymoor Heath.
But performances and results have dipped and although there’s no indication Christian Purslow would yet consider another change, particularly as it is pretty obvious the former Liverpool star was our former Liverpool Chief Executive’s preferred pick.
However, it cannot be ignored that performances are on the slide, Gerrard is beginning to get more publicly vocal, rightfully being more critical of the players (but that never ends well as a manager ends up looking like they are after excuses – particularly in light of some of his own bizarre selection and substitution choices that fans have picked up on) and we are again on the verge of five straight defeats.
As impressive, but ultimately wasteful, as our first half performance was against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday April 9, the complete second half collapse is all that lives in the minds of Villans and despite Gerrard having had slightly longer to drill the group on Bodymoor’s training pitches, many fans will be forgiven for being very nervous as we go into this weekend’s clash with Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City side at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes might not be having the greatest of seasons based on more recent exploits, finding themselves in ninth place in the top tier table, but they only have one defeat in their last five games – so relative form speaks for itself, as does our misfiring strike force and incredibly prone to slip ups defence.
Gerrard’s honeymoon period is well and truly over in B6, now we find out what kind of manager and true Captain of the ship our new head coach is and whilst there will be plenty who have their own doubts given his real, previous experience, there is absolutely no one who wants him to fail.