A new era began as Steven Gerrard took control of his first game as Aston Villa manager when Brighton came to Villa Park on Saturday.
The former Rangers boss lined up with Emi Martinez in goal, a back four of Matt Targett, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings and Matty Cash. A midfield three of Marvelous Nakamba, Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn with Ollie Watkins, Danny ings and Emi Buendia.
It was clear early on what Gerrard wanted from his team, narrow, compact and with a high press as Villa started brightly without really looking a threat. As the game settled Brighton began to get hold of the game and dominate possession.
It looked as if Gerrard’s bow as a Premier League manager was going to end goalless until two late goals to end Villa’s poor run of results.
Villa broke on the counter-attack through substitute Ashley young. He played Watkins through who then ran towards the box before cutting onto his right and firing home for the first goal of the new era.
A minute from time Villa doubled their lead. Adam Webster attempted to clear a cross of McGinn’s but the ball fell to Mings who finished at the first attempt.
- Although it wasn’t perfect you could see how Gerrard wants his team to play and once injured players return and he has more time with this squad, we could be onto something special on the eye.
- Matt Targett looked back to his best yesterday. Defensively he was solid and looked like the player who was voted the player of the season last season.
- Special mentions also need to go John McGinn and Tyrone Mings. Both stepped up despite being away with their international teams so have had very little time with the new management.
- This is not related to the game but more after the game. I don’t fully understand what is going on with the trains around Villa Park this season but the carnage down by the station isn’t pretty. People were queuing for hours to try and get home, up and down the roads causing congestion both for the roads and those on foot. Between Villa and the trains, something needs to be done, and fast.
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Saturday 27th November
Gerrard will travel down to London for his first away game in charge of Villa to take on a much improved Crystal Palace.