Under the lights at White Hart Lane, Garde got his first view of his inherited charges. With no personnel changes until January, he will have his work cut out. So, what does he need to do?
1. Settle the defence
Too many chops and changes have not helped Villa this season, least of all in the back line. We’ve had back 3, back 4, different pairings at CB and changes at full back in recent weeks. Garde must identify the best line up and give them to play and understand each other. For me? Hutton, Richards, Clark and Amavi.
2. Grind out some results
No one thinks this will be easy. Our squad is not full of underperforming superstars like Chelsea, it is full of untried players who may or may not have the capacity to play at the highest level of English football. Given this fact, Garde should look to grind out some results. In his first five games he will face Man City, Arsenal and Everton. Tough teams to play even when things are going well so a couple of draws against those three with a win in the home game against Watford would be a very good start.
3. Find a system
Similar to my first point, we actually have a decent number of players to pick from in midfield. Garde will need to pick a system and work out who can be relied upon. Sherwood’s sometimes bizarre omissions of Gil and Grealish will surely be reversed. I’d try and make Villa hard to beat right now so I’d go 5 in midfield. Gueye and Sanchez centrally, Grealish no.10 flanked by Sinclair and Gil. Garde allegedly favours a 4 4 2 which could work if the attackers are willing to drop back when out of possession.
4. Build confidence
Obvious isn’t it? I think this will come from results but also from a team playing together regularly. Confidence is built through understanding with team mates and being on the same wavelength. Give a settled side a chance to develop that confidence of knowing where each other will be on the pitch.
5. Give a clean slate
New manager, clean slate. None of these players were Remi’s players so all are equal. This will upset some in the squad, I doubt Gabby did himself many favours on Monday and Lescott looks vulnerable. On the flip side, forgotten man Kozak could come into contention and Veretout you’d think would get closer to the match day squad. My only ask is that those players that cross the white line are up for the fight because that is surely what villa have now.
Can’t wait to take my seat in B6 this weekend and welcome Remi to the Villa. I will be in full voice, so altogether now…’Remi Garde’s claret and blue army’!
P.S One more thing – Ciaran Clark if you do happen to read this blog, could you put in one of these beauties on our mutual friend Fabian Delph this weekend please? Kind Regards, all Villa fans.