Aston Villa v Manchester City 2015
Despite some mumblings of disapproval from those hung up on ‘Premier League experience’, the appointment of Remi Garde has been largely met with approval by the Villa faithful. Garde, only the sixth different Frenchman to manage a Premier League game, has given the fans a bit of hope for the remaining 28 league games, but it’s a tough first fixture for the ex-Lyon manager. Can he mastermind Villa’s first home league win of the season?
Defeat would see Villa lose eight consecutive League matches for the first time in their history.
Garde on relegation
“I’m confident (Villa won’t be relegated). It’s 28 games to go.
“If we start winning things will change. I’m sure you follow the Bundesliga, for example. Borussia Mönchengladbach started with five defeats in a row then had six wins.
“In football you never know. When it is done mathematically, okay you shake hands and then it’s finished. But we can still do it.
“Of course I signed a long-term contract but I have not come to prepare for next season in a lower division. I have got respect for all the teams and managers in this country but I’m not here to ask many questions. I’m here to play better football and win games.”
Pellegrini on Delph
“No, I hope he will not receive that [a bad reception]. He played a lot of years for Aston Villa and Aston Villa wanted to sell him also.
“He continued being a player that gave a lot of his career to Aston Villa and I don’t think the fans will forget all those things.”
Pellegrini on Villa
“For me there are no easy games in the Premier League.
“They are at the bottom of the table with a new manager so the motivation to try not to be relegated will be high.
“It is very important to repeat what we did against Sevilla in the Champions League and not to think that because we played well in the last game we can do it in exactly the same way.”
4th October 2014 Aston Villa 0 Man City 2
Villa held out for a while and even had a few decent chances, but late goals from Aguero and Toure clinched the three points.
Villa – Last five matches at home: D 1, L 4
Man City– Last five matches away: W 4, L 1
Villa have won two of the last five home games against Man City
One to Watch
There’s no doubting City will be confident ahead of a clash against a transitional Villa side, and who can blame them? As well as a 3-1 win against Sevilla on Wednesday, City have won seven of their last eight league games against Aston Villa – netting 22 goals in the process!
Recent encounters haven’t always gone City’s way, but they have won more league games (21) and scored more goals (68) against Villa than any other team. There always seems to be a stat like that, doesn’t there?
Meanwhile struggling Villa have only picked up one point from the last six home games, failing to score during four of these occasions.
Struggling to score at home is always a concern, but particularly when you consider City have only allowed 28 shots on target against them – the lowest out of all top flight teams this season.
“Of course I signed a long-term contract but I have not come to prepare for next season in a lower division” – Garde on relegation
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Ahead of Monday’s game it was suggested by one of the Sky Sports pundits that a nod to club politics may have been evident in the Villa starting XI.
They may have had a point. Aside from Lescott, none of the club’s new recruits started the game.
While caretaker Kevin could possibly have been making a point about control of transfers, Monday’s performance, which was generally flat, did little to back up any theoretical arguments about the Premier League suitability of the summer recruit.
Hopefully then, we see the likes of Amavi, Veretout and Gana involved from the off on Sunday.
If Garde was to suffer defeat on his debut it would mean Villa had lost eight successive Premier League matches for the first time in our history.
While it may be unreasonable to expect three points on Sunday, hopefully we see a decent, competitive performance – with our best players utilised.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Garde mentioned the drastic turnaround of form that saw Borussia Mönchengladbach climb from the Bundesliga basement, so why can’t we experience a similarly rapid improvement on Sunday?
The history books reveal something of a good omen, too. Although it is Villa’s worst league run since a club record 11 consecutive defeats in 1963, that particular run ended with a 3-1 home win against – yup – City! Villa also avoided relegation that season.
OK, it’s clutching at straws, but sometimes that’s all you can do as a Villa fan. So let’s also hold onto the fact that City have only kept one clean-sheet in their last six Premier League games.
A fresh start for Villa could bring the best out of the players, who have not utilised their full potential.
Oh, and another thing. Garde won his first league game in charge of Lyon against Amavi’s old club Nice. Just like the win that stopped the rot in 1963 for Villa, Garde’s first Lyon game ended 3-1. Coincidence? Well, yeah.
Win, draw or lose, Garde will not be defined by Sunday’s game. Hopefully though, the game kickstarts a more positive period for Villa’s long-suffering fans, and there are at least signs of promise.
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