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Aston Villa’s first game since sacking Gerrard sees Brentford come to town
Aston Villa 1-1 Brentford
Tournament: Premier League 2022-2023 | Venue: Birmingham, Villa ParkBet Now
Aston Villa have finally parted ways with Steven Gerrard, with the former Liverpool player failing to improve the club from when he took over less than a year ago.
Many of the players have gone backwards during that time, with the likes of Mings, Watkins, McGinn, Coutinho and Buendia all shadows of what they had shown beforehand.
It leaves the club searching for a new manager, although he won’t be in place for the game against Brentford. Ironically, one of the men rumoured to be on Villa’s list is Brentford’s Thomas Frank, although that is unlikely.
Brentford are in a much stronger position, both in terms of their league position and the success of their manager right now.
The club finished in 13th place last season, and they aim to progress in this campaign. The signs are looking good right now, with many of the Bees’ players in fine form.
With Villa in some trouble, Brentford could see this as an ideal opportunity to claim three points.
Reasons to be cheerful:
A change of manager could be a relief for some players
Crowd will get behind their players at home
Reasons to be fearful:
Failed to beat Brentford in either game last season
Have now conceded five goals in their last two games
In many ways, Aston Villa are back to square one right now.
When they sacked Dean Smith in November 2021, also after 11 games had been played, they had 10 points and sat in 16th place.
Now, they have one point fewer and occupy one place lower in the league.
Such has been the poor start to the season, the club are worse off than they were last season, despite bringing in Gerrard and spending money in the summer.
Villa will now look to appoint a new manager. Such are the club’s ambitions that names like Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel are being thrown about, but surely they are unrealistic for a bottom-half club.
The players must also look at themselves for having poorly performed this season. At home, they must try to win the crowd back onside if they are to beat a resilient Brentford side.
Star Man – John McGinn
When teams at their lowest, you often need your captain to lead by example. McGinn hasn’t done that anywhere near enough this season and he is due a big performance in the heart of that midfield.
Reasons to be cheerful
Earned four points from six against Villa last season
Took a well-earned point from Chelsea in midweek
Reasons to be fearful
Will be wary of a big response from Villa
Haven’t won away from home this season
There are two ways in which this could go for Brentford.
Firstly, with Villa being without a manager and completely lacking confidence, the Bees could go to Villa Park and smell the opportunity to get one over on their opponents.
Brentford have the players to do this, especially with the likes of Toney and others in such good form right now. Their goalkeeper also looked in fine shape to keep out Chelsea in midweek.
On the other hand, Brentford have not won away from home all season, and we must consider that Villa will pull up their socks after witnessing the dismissal of their manager.
Effectively, Villa’s players are now trying to impress whoever comes in. Brentford will be wary of this, no doubt.
Star Man – Ivan Toney
The England striker has three goals from his last three appearances, plus one goal from his two games against Villa. His power and quality could destroy a poor Villa defence if they allow him space.
Villa will be determined to bounce back
Brentford will have no issues in pressing forward
Will be a tight game
You would expect this to be a tight game of football.
If Brentford score the first goal, then we could see more of those issues that have surrounded Villa for the past year or so. Their crowd could turn on them.
If they score first, then it will be reignite the optimism around the stadium that better times are ahead.
Brentford’s away form isn’t as strong as it is at home, so this one could end all square.
Aston Villa 1-1 Brentford
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