What’s gone, and what comes next.
In November 2021, we were truly blessed: it was announced in the media that Rangers boss Steven Gerrard would be coming to the Villa. Lovely stuff. In the three years he’d been with the club, he’d taken them to their first league title in 10 years. He was leaving the Glaswegians in good shape, as they were four points clear of fellow Glaswegians Celtic at the time of the announcement.
At the Villa, the situation was a little different. The club were hovering nervously above the relegation zone (don’t look down!). Enter what the club hoped would be its Liverpudlian knight in shining armour. Is he? Let’s find out.
Getting off to a good start in the Premier League
Whenever a new manager arrives it’s all smiles and bonhomie, but there are nerves, too. Every manager wants to get off to a flyer and Steven did that with a 2-0 win over Brighton, putting an end to a run of five defeats.
He’d go on to reward his new bosses’ faith in his managerial abilities with four wins in six games, including a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace and, even more delightfully, the 2-0 triumph over Norwich City that would carry the club into the top half of the table. That view is much more pleasant!
Does song remain the same?
The club must have gotten too comfortable in the top half and gotten complacent because Villa finished the season in the bottom half of the table in fourteenth place.
Villa managed to pick up 5 points in their last 5 matches and sadly were defeated by Premier League champions Manchester City in the last game of the season. The game got off to a great start with Villa going 2-0 up however City managed to score 3 goals within 5 minutes, crucial to the team to make sure they took the top spot away from Liverpool.
The team had also sharpened up its midfield. When they were out of possession, they were out of shape in the midfield and, as far as the gaffer was concerned, teams were having far too much fun attacking his back four. That seem to change within the last few matches. Not quite ‘Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough’, but teams have fewer of those opportunities now.
As Gerrard settles in, the team have begun to exhibit a more confident style of play.
How’s it all going to end for Villa?
It’s too early to tell how far Villa will go next season, but those people who like to bet on who will win the league title and who will fail to avoid the drop will be interested in new online bookmakers’ predictions for Villa this season. By using one of the new online bookies, and placing a bet this far in advance on who will win the Premier League next season, punters are able to access some of the best odds are it is hard to determine which team will be in the best form in several months time.
As you might have guessed, Villa are not the current favourites to win the Premier League next season. Not even close. That vote of confidence goes to reigning champions Man City with Gerrard’s old team Liverpool a close second.
At the same time, however, no one is ardently predicting other-end-of-the-table doom for Villa. Earlier in the previous season, a supercomputer had given Villa odds of 5/1 on dropping into the Championship under Gerrard. So it’s nice to see someone out there has reasonable faith in the team, even if it is a computer.
Can Villa get back into the top half of the table?
Entering the new season in a few months’ time, Villa are going to have pull something special out of the bag.
With the transfer window now open, Villa have already made several astute signings including making Philippe Coutinho’s loan deal permanent. and all eyes will be on Gerrard for more arrivals that can help Villa get into the top half of the table next season.
Rumours of further key players Gerrard will be targeting have already surfaced, with Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips a chosen favourite to enter the Villa squad.
Gerrard has experienced highs and lows since his arrival at Villa Park. With the transfer window and new season approaching, it will be exciting to see what plans Gerrard has in place for the Villa squad.