With only three wins from their last 14 Premier League games, pressure is continuing to mount on Steven Gerrard after Aston Villa’s slow start to the season.
Villa sit 13th in the league after three matches, with their solitary victory coming at home to Frank Lampard’s Everton two weeks ago.
Their two away trips this term have seen Gerrard’s side return to the Midlands with zero points, suffering a disappointing 2-0 defeat on the coast against newly-promoted Bournemouth and surrendering a lead to lose 3-1 versus Crystal Palace.
A midweek EFL Cup victory over Bolton and the fact that the Villains return to Villa Park to host West Ham this weekend may provide a welcome respite, but there’s no doubt that pressure is beginning to mount.
Despite an initial bounce when the former Liverpool and England star replaced Dean Smith last season, results soon took a turn for the worse from March onwards – winning just two of their final 11 league games against relegated Norwich and Burnley.
And there appears to be little sign of improvement so far in the 2022/23 campaign, according to AVFC Faithful.
“There are a lot of frustrations from the Aston Villa fanbase right now regarding Gerrard,” they tell FansBet.
“From picking his favourites, players out of form and not settling on his best team or formation, where do I start?
“I think he will be given time from the higher-up so we have to back him at the end of the day, but I do worry for him with our next three fixtures though.”
Despite responding positively to the Bournemouth setback at home to Everton, Villa were brought back to reality with a sobering performance against Patrick Vieira’s Palace outfit.
Villa were unable to deal with Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze, who ran the show at Selhurst Park with the former netting in each half and Jean-Philippe Mateta completing the scoring after Ollie Watkins’ early opener.
The loss of £26million summer signing Diego Carlos certainly hasn’t helped, with the Brazilian defender expected to be out until at least the New Year with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
This meant that Gerrard was forced to start a centre back pairing of Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings in the defeat at Selhurst Park last Saturday.
Mings has fallen out of favour at Villa following a string a below-par performances towards the back end of last season and has thus been linked with a move away from the club.
The England international had been stripped of the captain’s armband earlier this summer and left out of the starting XI at the start of the season, with Gerrard publicly questioning his player’s attitude.
“I think at the end of the day the Mings saga was blown out of proportion by the national media who don’t see the day-to-day goings on at Aston Villa,” explains AVFC Faithful.
“He was right to take the captaincy from him but I believe he made the wrong choice in McGinn as a replacement, though none of us know what actually happened with Gerrard and Tyrone, at the time.
“I didn’t like his presser comments either, I still don’t, but he’s back in the team now.”
Since leaving his role as manager of Rangers – where he’d brought the title to Ibrox for the first time in a decade – Gerrard has won just 10 of his 29 matches in charge after replacing Dean Smith last November.
And although Villa finished comfortably away from the relegation zone with the former Gers boss in charge, that did not tell the full story as the early optimism surrounding the club has gradually dissipated.
His side were beaten by Watford, Wolves and Brentford amongst others, while also failing to beat Crystal Palace, Burnley and Leeds United at home.
So does he still have the backing of the Villa Park faithful or is their patience beginning to wear thin?
“Ask me in three games time,” says AVFC Faithful.
“If we’re still on three points after six matches then I think the writing is on the wall with Leicester after that period.
“Only time will tell; I don’t believe in calling for a manager’s head three games into a season, but form doesn’t lie and it’s very poor so far in 2022.”
It’s not been lost on the Villa faithful that Gerrard’s record in charge is worsening to the point where his stats are no better than his predecessor and the man he was sacked for, Dean Smith.
When Smith was relieved of his duties, his points per game through 2021 was 1.11 while Gerrard’s through 2022 so far is 1.13.
So following the disappointing run to start the season, plus an underwhelming end to the last campaign, there’s little wonder that a sentiment among some Villa fans that they want Gerrard sacked continues to grow.
“The start to the season has been underwhelming but expected,” explains AVFC Faithful.
“We were poor in pre-season and have carried that into the season.
“We look unbalanced in midfield, Coutinho has been a ghost and we just simply haven’t created enough chances, and that’s without mentioning this new vulnerability we now have with defending set pieces.
“We should be aiming for the top half and for that to happen we have to find consistency and fast.
“If we don’t do that, we won’t finish in the top half and quite frankly Gerrard won’t be in the job anymore.”
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