Succumbing to back-to-back morale-crushing defeats against Everton and Manchester City, Aston Villa shattered fans’ hopes of cheering their lads through a Crystal Palace-esque revival. Relegation is merely a formality now, with the club already preparing for life in the Championship, apparently.
With 30 points still left to fight for, Premier League survival is still mathematically possible, but the prestigious club have reached a point where their opponents would cover their countenances in shame if they failed to vandalize the seven-time English champions.
Diffident and indifferent personnel
Though Tim Sherwood failed to find direct replacements for Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, he brought in a dozen players in the summer, who could help the Villans secure a top-half finish in a perfect world.
Only a couple of those – Jordan Ayew and Jordan Veretout – have met what was expected of them when they were unveiled as Aston Villa’s new recruits. Others have exemplified diffidence and indifference, oblivious of whom they are playing for.
Unwilling to show the fight and desire to turn things around, the likes of Scott Sinclair and Adama Traore have left the side toothless whilst Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott have always been busy convincing the fans to perceive their non-existent passion for the club.
Uninspiring gaffer and unfortunate rift
Remi Garde replaced Tim Sherwood as club’s permanent manager roughly two months before Guus Hiddink’s appointment and exactly 20 days after Jurgen Klopp took over as Liverpool manager. He has not been able to inspire the dressing room, unlike the aforementioned duo though fans still have his back.
According to the Telegraph, he has even triggered a dressing room rift, with one faction questioning his bizarre training methods and general unwillingness to confront the squad after losses.
Given players need a manager to wrap his arms around the shoulder or deliver hairdryer during periods of recession, the appointment of the highly revered former Lyon manager, in hindsight, has proven a mistake on the board’s part.
Need for a complete overhaul
Given Randy Lerner, Aston Villa chairman, will not hand his manager a warchest that could steer the Villa Park club straight back to the Premier League, loan deals and free transfers will likely be the source of incomings. However, the Aston Villa manager ought to force an overhaul of his players’ attitudes as what currently prevails at the club will worsen their plight.
In the likes of Gary Gardner and Mark Bunn, the club has local lads, who would not only work their socks off to prompt a quick-fire return to the top division but also possess valuable Championship experience. Besides, experiencing physical football could also aid in the development of future first-team mainstay in Jack Grealish.
However, they should, at all cost, retain the services of Ayew and Veretout, whom many expect to pledge their loyalty to the club during their unfortunate slump in order to abandon the path trod by Leeds United, Portsmouth and Nottingham Forest.
Getting youth players involved
With Aston Villa’s drop written in the stars and their players showing little to no interest to fight for their fans’ support and undying efforts to revive the club, they should offer their youth players, taking advice from Louis van Gaal’s impressive use of academy players.
“Put the kids in, give them an opportunity,” Joey Barton told BBC Sport whilst discussing Aston Villa’s abysmal season. “Marcus Rashford has shown at Manchester United that, if given chances, our kids can do a lot better than some of these ridiculously over-priced foreign players.”
Aston Villa youngsters sit third in Division 2 of Professional U21 Development League, level on points with second-placed Arsenal under-21, and they would certainly offer a lot more passion than the first-teamers if the manager offered them first-team minutes in the upcoming weeks.
Aston Villa faithful deserve a breath of fresh air.
What do you think? Whom should Aston Villa offload – Alan Hutton, Gabby Agbonlahor or Brad Guzan?
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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