Aston Villa Flying Under Unai Emery, Steven Gerrard on the Brink: What’s Next for the Premier League?

Aston Villa Flying Under Unai Emery, Steven Gerrard on the Brink: What’s Next for the Premier League?

Oct.27 : Aston Villa is currently on an incredible streak, having clinched victory in their last 11 home games in the Premier League. For Villa fans, this is an exhilarating period as they witness the team’s best league start in 25 years. Notably, they haven’t faced defeat at Villa Park since a narrow 4-2 loss to Arsenal back in February. Even then, it took two late goals in the second half for them to concede the match. Unai Emery has undoubtedly turned Villa Park into an impregnable fortress, and fans are reveling in every moment of it.

Adding to the excitement, European football has made a return to the Midlands, promising a season filled with thrills. Just a year ago, Villa languished in 17th place when Steven Gerrard was dismissed. Emery stepped in and guided them to a commendable seventh-place finish. The transformation was remarkable, with the team winning 10 out of their last 15 games. Fans held high hopes for even better performances following a full pre-season under Emery’s guidance, and those hopes are rapidly turning into reality. Their recent 4-1 victory over West Ham catapulted them to fifth place in the Premier League standings.

Competing in the Conference League this season could have been a distraction, but Villa has handled European football exceptionally well, thanks to Emery’s adept management. While Villa invested significantly in their squad over the past few years, the real turnaround began when Emery took the helm a year ago.

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The club’s owners supported Emery in the summer transfer market, but Villa’s rise isn’t solely a product of their signings. Emery has revitalized the performances of those already at the club during Gerrard’s tenure. The new signings are thriving, with Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz, both of whom joined during Dean Smith’s era, standing out this season.

Watkins, in particular, has flourished under Emery’s guidance. His goal and assist in the West Ham victory make him the only player in the Premier League to have scored at least five goals and provided at least five assists this season. Only Mohamed Salah of Liverpool has been involved in more goals.

Emery’s tactical adjustments, like keeping Watkins more central, have worked wonders. This season marks Watkins’ fourth in the Premier League, and remarkably, 40% of his 45 goals in the division have come since Emery’s arrival.

Douglas Luiz has also reached new heights, scoring in Villa’s last six home league matches, surpassing a record set by Dwight Yorke in 1996. His versatility as an all-round midfielder alongside the defensively solid Boubacar Kamara in Emery’s favored 4-4-2 formation has been a key asset.

Villa faced adversity early in the season when Tyrone Mings suffered an ACL injury, compounded by Emiliano Buendía’s similar injury. However, Emery found effective solutions. Pau Torres and Nicolò Zaniolo, both summer arrivals, have filled these gaps, showcasing the depth of the squad.

With a strong squad and healthy competition for starting spots, Villa is in a prime position to capitalize on the struggles of the established Premier League giants, including Manchester United and Chelsea. Emery has set ambitious goals for his team, aiming for a top-four finish. This is a stark departure from Gerrard’s more negative approach, which drained the club’s spirit. Confidence, combined with solid tactical planning, has propelled Villa to victory against Chelsea and other top sides. Emery’s vision and the players’ commitment could potentially lead them to a coveted spot in the Champions League.

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Maria Silva

Maria Silva, a graduate of UCLA in Journalism, is the voice for the voiceless. Her dedication to investigative reporting and her ability to uncover hidden truths make her an asset to the team. Maria's articles often shed light on critical social issues, providing a platform for change. Her well-crafted narratives keep you engaged and informed on the trending news of the day.

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