When Steven Gerrard took the reins at Aston Villa back in November, it was always difficult to know what to expect from the former Liverpool captain. Yes, he had enjoyed tremendous success with Rangers, but the Premier League is a different kettle of fish, and Gerrard is someone who has had a painful relationship with the competition he could never quite conquer as a Liverpool player.
We are now over four months into the Gerrard experiment at Villa Park, so it’s a good time to take stock of how the 41-year-old has fared so far.
Back on track
The first task Gerrard faced when he arrived at the club was to get Aston Villa back to winning ways. A torrid run of form had led to Dean Smith being shown the exit door, and it was up to Gerrard to get the team pulling in the right direction once again.
He did just that in his very first match on the touchline, overseeing a 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at Villa Park. From there, Villa’s form picked up a bit, and they became more fancied in the football betting as a result.
There have been some pockets of poor performances and results, but that is to be expected when Gerrard is still finding his feet at Premier League level. Overall though, Villa has looked a lot more assured since he took the helm and got plenty of backing in the football betting tips today.
Gerrard did not hang about when the January transfer window rolled around, viewing it as a great opportunity to bring in reinforcements. The signing of left-back Lucas Digne was something of a coup, with the Frenchman falling out with Rafael Benítez at Everton. Calum Chambers was brought in on a free transfer from Arsenal to add another option at the heart of defence or the base of midfield.
However, Villa’s most eye-catching January addition was undoubtedly the loan signing of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona. The Brazilian played with Gerrard when the pair were at Liverpool, and it was a prime example of the unique power Villa’s new coach possesses in terms of attracting talent to work with him.
Coutinho got off to a flying start by bagging a crucial goal against Manchester United, and he has produced some outstanding performances for the team so far.
A bright future
There is a sense that Villa are pulling in the right direction as a club with Gerrard in charge. He has said all the right things from a media perspective, and it’s clear that he is not likely to shy away from his responsibilities as manager of such a big club.
Gerrard has extremely high standards and expects all the players to live up to those. It’s clear that he is not afraid to tell a player what he thinks of their performance if they aren’t hitting the right notes, and most importantly he commands respect in the dressing room.
Villa are a club with enormous potential, and it looks as though they have found a coach with the kind of winning mentality they need to build a strong and successful future.