Another week, another Premier League club in crisis.
And the crisis club of the week this week is a doozy. It’s a team that, despite spending a huge amount on attacking talent in the last few seasons, have only managed to score six goals in eight league games. A team that, despite having a strong squad on paper, currently play football that wouldn’t be out of place in the National League.
That’s right, this week’s crisis club of the week is Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa.
What’s the crisis?
Villa fans were excited when Stevie G replaced Dean Smith following a hugely successful spell in Scotland with Rangers. However, 35 Premier League games in, it’s clear that there’s been absolutely no improvement in performances under the new manager.
Eight games into the 2022/23 season, Gerrard’s side have won just two matches and scored six goals, with their failure to break down a ten-man Leeds United side on Sunday being the biggest indictment of the team yet.
Aston Villa are now one of the least enjoyable teams to watch in the Premier League – along with Wolves, obviously. That’s bad.
Why are they in crisis?
There’s a wealth of talent in the current Aston Villa squad. Philippe Coutinho, Emi Buendia, Danny Ings, and John McGinn are just some of the really good players on the books at Villa Park.
The talent isn’t really the issue – it’s the management of it that is.
After nearly a year in charge, Gerrard still doesn’t know his best XI and hasn’t found a way to utilise his talented squad effectively. The lack of cohesion in the final third in particular is down to the manager’s inability to find the right blend of attacking players.
What can they do to rectify it?
If Gerrard doesn’t work out what his best team is soon, then the club need to find a manager who can.
As said previously, the squad is good and capable of challenging for UEFA Europa Conference League qualification, it’s about finding the right manager to lead them there.
Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration
Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.
The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.
Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:
“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”
Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.
“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”
Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!
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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player
Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.
Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.
On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.
It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.
Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey in the latest episode of Talking Transfers, discussing Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview and his future, Man Utd’s interest in Cody Gakpo, plus the latest on Endrick and Rafael Leao. Available on all audio platforms.
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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.
Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.
He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.
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