Unai Emery. A name that all Aston Villa fans are now calling. The charismatic Spanish coach has transformed the Villains from a relegation team to a cup representative in just one year.
What was the situation before Emery? Certainly not a rosy one. Aston Villa under Steven Gerrard finished in 14th place, and the next season it was even worse. In the opening 11 rounds, the Birmingham side won only twice and were 17th in the table, just a score above the relegation zone.
So the management lost patience, sacked Gerrard and brought in Unai Emery in his place. And, given time, it could perhaps be considered the Villains’ best move in recent years.
The Spanish coach has had success everywhere he has gone. Just not in England. He didn’t quite work out at Arsenal, he was often ridiculed for his poor pronunciation, and the results weren’t ideal either.
So he went back to Spain, took over Villareal and won the Europa League with them. Not only did he win the club’s first ever trophy, but he also became the most successful coach in the competition, winning his fourth trophy.
And when an offer came from Aston Villa last November, Emery didn’t hesitate. He was given the chance to repair his reputation in England and it couldn’t have gone any better. He pulled the Villains from 17th place to 7th place and took the team into the Conference League. He left Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham behind.
And this season, Aston Villa is doing even better. In the Conference League, they are heading for the top spot in the group and on Wednesday the Premier League sent a clear message.
They did beat Manchester City at home, but not after any stout defending and with luck. Aston Villa have regularly outplayed the hegemon of recent years. On shots, the Villains won 22:2, the expected goals stopped at 2.06, the Citizens were only 0.86. On corners, it was even 6:0 for the home side! Even better is the statistic of dangerous attacks, where Emery’s charges won 52 – 38.
With this great win, Aston Villa already jumped to the third place of the Premier League just ahead of Manchester City. They are only two points behind second-placed Liverpool and four points behind leaders Arsenal. The top six already has a six-point cushion.
So in just one year since Emery took over, Aston Villa have jumped from 17th place to third. And heading into the Champions League, which would be a huge achievement. Will the Villains make it to the end?
Source: Premier League, Transfermarkt
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