Can Gerard Houllier save the Villans?
Aston Villa was rocked at the beginning of the season with the news of Martin O’Neill’s sudden departure from the club. Despite not winning any silverware, O’Neill had taken the team to two cup finals last season, and was very popular and respected in the coaching world. The reason for the departure was never officially confirmed, but it is assumed that O’Neill left because he was not promised support from ownership to sign and keep players.
This was shown prior to the season after the team dealt the talented James Milner to Man City (just one season after losing their other star midfielder Gareth Barry to Man City) and doing nothing in the transfer period to bolster the squad. Couple this to the premature crash out in the Europa League, and 2010 looked bleak for Villa.
With all of the bad things happening, a light appeared at the end of the tunnel in the form of Gerard Houllier. Houllier brought with him Premier League success at Liverpool and two French Ligue 1 titles in ‘06 and ’07 with Lyon. And after all, Aston Villa had become a Top 4 challenger for the past few years, and many supporters didn’t expect to much of a drop off in position.
However, after winning his first two games in charge, the club has sunk to 15th in the table and can’t seem to defend anyone. Stephen Ireland (who was exchanged for Milner from City) has been absolutely dreadful for the team, and with players like John Carew stirring up trouble, the foundation at Villa looks very unstable. Although Houllier was given a 3 year deal when he arrived at Villa, it isn’t certain that he will be able to keep his job. Players and fans are calling for a multitude of signings in the upcoming transfer window, but with a history of reluctant spending from ownership, it might be up to Houllier’s talents alone to right the ship. I just don’t see how even a coach of his caliber is going to steer a ship with so many leaks, and the beginning of the end may have already started at Aston Villa.
- Dimitar Berbatov and Man U absolutely scorched Blackburn 7 to 1 on Saturday, with Berbatov scoring 5 of the goals.
- For the first time in the history of the Premier League, every team scored a goal over the weekend, totaling 41 goals in two days.
- The FA will pay Liverpool £500,000 for the injury sustained by Captain Steven Gerrard, acknowledging the that midfielder was played longer than agreed.
- The 161st installment of the Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid takes place on Nov. 29th. After the UEFA Champions League Final, it is the most watched club football match of the year.