ᑕ❶ᑐ Micah Richards column: Former Aston Villa defender says Steven Gerrard will change things

ᑕ❶ᑐ Micah Richards column: Former Aston Villa defender says Steven Gerrard will change things


I firmly believe that fans have every right to vent if their team falls below expectations, but I thought the response at the end of Aston Villa lost at home to West Ham on Sunday it was slightly exaggerated.

The Premier League season consists of four games. If Villa are still playing with as little confidence as they showed against West Ham after 10 or 15 games then I will be worried.

Don’t get me wrong, these are tough times for Steven Gerrard and my former club Villa. But I believe he will change the situation and the excitement that erupted at Villa Park after the third defeat in four matches will be a distant memory.

Look at Mikel Arteta at Arsenal last season. He lost his first three league matches and the fans were calling for him. Now the condition of the Emirates stadium has completely changed after starting this season with four consecutive victories under Arteta.

Villa need results and we need them fast – Gerrard

Whether you are a player or a coach, you will go through tough tests at different times in your career.

It didn’t help Gerrard that Brighton and Graham Potter, who allegedly had a small squad, got off to a good start. But let’s not forget that some fans booed Potter at some point last season because their expectation levels rose.

Villa fans are very passionate. Having played for the club I know what they expect and it was always difficult for whoever took the job afterwards. The dismissal of Dean Smith.

People will say ‘you’ll support Gerrard and Villa because that’s your old team’. It has nothing to do with that. I think he is up to the task, but things are not going well and, as Gerrard said after his team’s last loss, he needs a quick win.

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“The balance is not good”

It’s a good season for Gerrard. We all know what an amazing job he did at Rangers, but he now has two transfer windows to make his mark since arriving last November.

The owners have backed him, but when you sign players of Philippe Coutinho’s quality and bring in others with big prizes, the expectation levels rise.

Does Gerrard know his best XI? That, in my opinion, is one of the problems.

Ollie Watkins didn’t have a good preseason so he didn’t start the first game. Gerrard then tried to put Danny Ings and Watkins together.

Currently it is not working. Sometimes against West Ham there was nothing wide in the forward parts of the pitch. I found it strange.

Gerrard needs to find the right balance in the team. The players have the ability to score goals and play well, but I look at the balance and I think ‘something is wrong in the attacking area’.

Villa need to show who they are because they are currently between two different styles. They want to have Ings and Watkins on the field, but it’s not working.

They need to play with one or the other, and play with some breadth.

Micah Richards column: Former Aston Villa defender says Steven Gerrard will turn things around

“Lost Chance”

Since Gerrard’s first game in charge last November, Villa have won 11 and lost 15 Premier League games. It is worth pointing out that they have gained more points than Crystal Palace, Wolves, West Ham, Leeds, Southampton and Everton who have also played 31 Premier League games since Gerrard’s appointment.

Still, players are doing poorly right now.

Villa’s next two matches are Arsenal away and Manchester City at home. It sounds scary when you lack confidence but, in my opinion, these kinds of games are exactly what they need.

A good game against one of the big teams can finally start their season.

Villa Park is a tough place when you’re not fit and, against West Ham, the home side didn’t give their fans much.

Everything seemed so clumsy and slow. It was disappointing. Villa are missing something and Gerrard needs to find what it is as soon as possible.

If they get nothing from Arsenal or Manchester City, the pressure is on. Villa fans are forgiving if you work hard and give 100%.

But the fans were disappointed when they saw their team lose at home to West Ham who had lost their first three league matches.

Sunday was a great chance to get points on the board. In the end, it was a lost opportunity.

Micah Richards column: Former Aston Villa defender says Steven Gerrard will turn things around
Aston Villa have reached 38 points in 31 Premier League games under Steven Gerrard

“the villa must be fixed before the deadline”

There are just days left before Thursday’s transfer deadline and Villa must try to do more business.

There is no doubt that the injury to new signing Diego Carlos is a setback when Gerrard could have done without Coutinho limping off against West Ham.

Problems are mounting but knowing Gerrard, he will do everything in his power to fix things.

He is a wonderful person and he definitely inspired me when I played with him for England.

He was the first to respond, led by example, shouted if you needed to shout, and cheered you on if you needed encouragement. He is a fighter.

Villa have a good squad but Gerrard needs to find a way to put the right parts in the right places. I think he can do that.

Micah Richards was speaking to BBC Sport’s Neil Johnston.

Micah Richards column: Former Aston Villa defender says Steven Gerrard will turn things around

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Micah Richards column: Former Aston Villa defender says Steven Gerrard will turn things around