Aston Villa reborn under Gerrard
Steven Gerrard has had a massive and immediate impact at Aston Villa in the wake of the iconic former Liverpool midfielder replacing Dean Smith this season.
The career-long Red cut his teeth with Glasgow Rangers for three seasons at Ibrox, winning a host of accolades in the 2020-21 season which was highlighted by Gers putting a stop to the dominance of their bitter rivals Celtic on the Scottish Premiership.
His time up north was most noted for the swashbuckling and free-scoring attacking football implemented at Rangers which saw the club smash 92-goals in thirty-eight league matches while surrendering only thirteen en route to an invincible-style season of their own, boasting a 32-6-0 record while also reaching the round of 16 in the Europa League for the second season running under his stewardship.
#AVFC became only the second team in 93 Premier League games to reduce Pep Guardiola's Man City to an xG of below 1, while also creating 10 or more chances themselves last night.
From the very moment Steven Gerrard walked through the door, he demanded buy-in from his players.
— John Townley (@johntownley11) December 2, 2021
That same type of back-to-front performance was on display against Manchester City at the weekend despite Villa losing 2-1 against Pep Guardiola’s outfit, and the data behind the performance shows that the club – and its players – are all in for the new project with Gerrard as its key figurehead.
“He’s got a terrific team, they’ve got world class players, they’ve just gone to the European Cup final, he’s someone that I’ve got utmost respect for. But I wanted to stand toe-to-toe and make it as difficult as we can and I think my team, certainly in the second half, delivered tonight. We were so close from taking something away from them.”
Midfield icon upbeat despite narrow loss against the Champions
An absolutely sensational player throughout his days at Anfield, Steven Gerrard is already quickly making a name for himself once again in England in the early days of his return to the Premier League, and the narrow defeat against Manchester City has not given him a moment of pause in terms of what he wishes to instill at Villa Park.
When speaking with VillaTV in the wake of the 2-1 result, the Aston Villa manager cut the shape of a man who not only trusts his players but backs the club and its fans to keep the progression since his arrival;
“I thought our second half performance certainly deserved that point. We had the best two chances of the half, obviously that chance through young Carney, which he’ll learn from and I’m sure he’ll think about that chance all night long. Listen, the good thing is that he’s got into that position and he’ll learn, grow and evolve from that.
The performance in the second half was outstanding, it took us 10, 15 minutes to really have that belief and courage that we could go toe-to-toe with City because they’re a good team. We need to look back at both goals because for me they were disappointing, I think they could have been avoided, for the second one certainly we could have stopped the game higher up and our marking could be better.
The first goal is unlucky because they get a break, but at 2-0 down it could be really difficult, but the reaction from them was fantastic from the players, the fans were terrific, they were with us and I think they appreciated the effort that the boys gave.”
With Aston Villa having won two of their first three matches under Gerrard since his appointment and three of their upcoming four fixtures against sides they are capable of taking all three points off, it may just be more than just a new manager bump that is currently taking root at Villa Park.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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