- Arthiac Team
On Thursday, Steven Gerrard was appointed as the new head coach of Aston Villa as he departed Rangers midway through the season.
The ex-Liverpool legend has replaced Dean Smith who was ultimately fired on Sunday evening after Villa lost 1-0 away from home against Southampton.
The sack came immediately after Villa lost 5 straight games in the Premier League as they struggled so far this season as they sit 2 places above the relegation zone in 16th with just 2 points being the difference to stay away from the drop zone.
Speaking about his appointment at Villa, Gerrard said:
"Aston Villa is a club with a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new head coach. In my conversations with Nassef, Wes and the rest of the board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims."
"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everybody associated with Glasgow Rangers for giving me the opportunity to manage such an iconic football club. Helping them secure a record-breaking 55th league title will always hold a special place in my heart."
The appointment of Steven Gerrard has surely caused some buzz and excitement around Villa Park as the fans hope for some positive news as the season rumbles on after the international break.
Gerard has the experience of coaching and developing top young players in the Liverpool Academy which was favorable in the eyes of Villa CEO, Christian Purslow.
The former Liverpool captain guided Rangers to their first ever Scottish Premiership title last season after 10 long years as he and his boys finished the campaign unbeaten.
What's the impact?
Well, Aston Villa lost Jack Grealish earlier in the summer transfer window for £100 million and the club have used that incoming fee to bolster their squad by bringing in players of some real calibre with the likes of Emi Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings.
As exciting as those signings may seem on paper, Dean Smith couldn't find the right balance between how Villa defended and attacked throughout the 90 minutes of a game.
Even after 11 league games, it seemed as though there was a lot of confusion as to what Villa were up to. It would seem fair if the hierarchy had given Dean Smith a little bit more time to rectify the situation at hand especially when he has been there before and got them out of it which saw them finish in 17th in 2019-20 Premier League season and they improved a lot the following season where they finished in 11th place, but again, the hierarchy concluded that Dean Smith wasn't the man who could take the club to greater heights especially with the start they've had so far this season.
There were a lot of media outlets claiming that Steven Gerrard will be in the Liverpool dug-out in the near future. Reports even suggested that he could be next in line after Jurgen Klopp's tenure comes to an end.
However, the journey begins right here at Villa Park for Gerrard. His first task while he manages his first game in the Premier League will be to sort his side's defensive shambles.
In defence, in the 11 Premier League games so far this season, Aston Villa have conceded 19 goals which averages up to 1.72 goals per game.
That's a stat that will torment you all throughout the season unless you have an attacking line that delivers time and time again.
In attack, Villa have scored 14 goals in 11 league games which averages up to 1.27 goals per game. That's a really good stat in terms of the numbers that Ings, Watkins and co put forward in front of goal.
However, the competition in the Premier League this time around is much more intense which has seen Brentford kicking into fourth gear earlier in the season while Crystal Palace, Wolves, Brighton and West Ham continue to impress as the season rolls on.
Gerrard's uphill task will be to stitch up Villa's defensive frailties as the defensive standards have been way below par. It is probably really disappointing especially when you have the likes of Emi Martinez, Tyrone Mings, Matty Cash, Matt Targett and Ezri Konsa in defence.
Well, you can't really dwell on the past as it's the start of a new chapter for those associated with Aston Villa.
An opportunity to make a statement
Steven Gerrard has got a really good opportunity to prove that he's got what it takes to succeed in the Premier League. He left Glasgow Rangers who were in Europe this season, but Aston Villa have not inherited a place in European competitions this season.
A few may say that it wasn't the right call by Gerrard to leave Rangers in the middle of the season for a club that's struggling so far in the league, but in reality, a lot of credit has to be given to Gerrard for getting out of his zone and taking on this job.
A lot of questions will be asked and a lot of doubts will come your way in the Premier League, but the character and zeal that Gerrard has in his armoury will inspire those who are on and off the pitch.
The ex-Liverpool midfielder has created his own legacy as a player on the field, but he's certainly on track to create his own legacy as a manager now.
There's a lot to come from Stevie G and crew in the next 6 months.