Five Obvious Issues for Remi Garde to Address at Aston Villa

Our new French lieutenant has been preparing for his first match in charge, but he’s got a lot of work to do if he is to rescue this Villa side from the drop. Below are five key areas in which Remi Garde needs to make an impact and has some big decisions to make. We’ll no doubt be able to tell a lot about his mindset to the task in hand from his very first team sheet, even if it is against Manchester City. We wish him luck…

The French Connection

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. Aston Villa brought in a raft of Ligue 1 players this summer and despite definite potential they have not all hit the ground running. Garde will need to get the best out of the likes of Amavi, Ayew, Veretout, and Gana, if Villa are to live up to their potential and secure Premier League safety, and something for Villa to build on for next year.

Fluent in English and French and lauded as an excellent communicator by previous employers, Remi Garde needs to get the club’s Ligue 1 talents to show their ability, even if he does so without the use of his native French language, which he has suggested he’ll refrain from using in the changing room. Of course, for one-on-one, man-on-man chats, it will no doubt come in useful though.

The Rear Garde

For the first time this season Villa are close to having a fully fit defensive selection and that poses some interesting possibilities. Until now the defense has been largely chosen by necessity and by the fact that Tim Sherwood promised Micah Richards he would play centre back. Tim Sherwood is gone now and deciding what to do with the back four will be vital.

Clark and Okore must be considered for starting roles particularly with Lescott having such a woeful start to his Villa career. Amavi will most likely be the first choice left-back but what about the right side? Will Hutton be preferred or will Richards finally be sent back to his more natural right-back position?

Managing Young Blood and Dead Wood

While Villa may be missing some of last years key players, and are yet to see the best from their French legion, the club does possess some talented youngsters and Garde has shown in the past that he isn’t afraid to let youth show their off their talents. Keeping Adama Traore, Carles Gil, and Jack Grealish fit, motivated, and involved will be key and there are a number of academy players who will be eager to shine under the new boss. It will be interesting to see if the likes of Hepburn-Murphy getting into matchday squads or whether Villa’s youth will have to wait for their chances.


January will bring the opportunity to strengthen (hopefully), but also the chance to clear out some individuals who are past their sell by date. Charles N’Zogbia for example, must go as his wages are better spent elsewhere.

Beyond that there is an element of the unknown when a new manager arrives. Will Kozak, N’Zogbia, and Senderos be given a go? Does Aly Cissokho have a future at the club on his return? Will we ever see Gary Gardner again? Will Gabby somehow continue to be a regular starter? Watch this space.

Tactics – Goals

Under Tim Sherwood Aston Villa’s tactics and line ups regularly seemed to have been plucked from a hat. This lucky dip approach was detrimental to any chance of consistency and Garde will have to get his tactics and philosophy across fast. During his time at Lyon Garde often opted for two up front, with the likes of Gomis and Lacazette being partnered at times. Rudy Gestede could certainly use some help up top and a partnership between him and Jordan Ayew could reap rewards with the right management and supply.

Garde’s defensive choices have been mentioned, but he will need to bring goals too if Villa are to claw their way up the table and players like Libor Kozak may also see this as an opportunity to prove themselves.

Ayew could be preferred as a lone striker to Gestede. Gil must be utilsed more as the team’s best creative outlet and link between the middle of the park and the front. There are plenty of options but what will be important now is picking a system and a regular team and allowing them to develop, instead of playing Sherwood’s style of selection roulette, or Mac Donald’s uninspiring phone-it-in line-ups.


Most obvious and most important of all. Villa need points. It doesn’t matter how we get them as long as we get them. Previous evidence would suggest that Garde will seek to attack teams, as well as hitting them on the counter, and that sounds great, but if grinding out some ugly 1-0 wins is what it takes, then I’ll take points over entertainment any day.

We can afford nothing less. Garde will need to instil discipline into the team to see out games when we are in the lead, as we were against Leicester, Sunderland, and Swansea.

It’s clear that Remi Garde has a job on his hands but the question remains, can he do it or will it prove too much for him? What do you think is the most important thing for him to tackle? Is Garde the right man for the job? Let’s hope so. UTV

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  1. With a quarter of the season gone and only on 4 points, there’s no time for experimentation. Hopefully even having only watched the Spurs game he can see a few obvious points. There’s a lack of confidence and leadership. We didn’t pick up until the second half. We picked up when Gil entered the fray. Gil needs to be a regular. Don’t play Gabby upfront on his own. He’s never been a centre forward. Gested’s our centre forward, at least above Gabby. He needs support and Ayew looks up for that job, perhaps Sinclair. There’s a big call for Clark to return. He showed against Spurs that he’s not match ready. Start getting him involved as a sub. Same with Okore.

    Unlike the Spurs side, these are players that struggle to support each other. Look at Sinclair’s cul-de-sac runs in to a nest of Spurs defenders, absolutely no support on the left. And yes, as a team that rarely scores we need to look at ex-Lazio and Czech international Kozac. My monies on him not needing too many chances to bag one.

  2. He’s already identified Grealish is lazy, that is a start. Ndog has had his chance (many) and hopefully Remi will not use him. Hope he stops our CB’s making 40 yard runs with the ball at their feet, and instills some positional discipline. And its only been alluded to and even in some cases outright denied, but language was/is an issue. No French starters under MacD for instance.

    Even though he has no prem managerial experience I think he will turn it around. Sherwood had many many issues but allowing the players too much freedom was one of his biggest problems. For instance he dropped Amavi for making individual errors leading to a goal but both Lescott (oh my, a Villa fan, but what a crp buy) and worse Micah did the same but Sherwood couldn’t drop his Captain.

    Finally he needs them to play as a team, I just don’t see that they are all working for each other in recent times.

    Thank you Mr. Lerner and Mr. Fox, I slated you both in my last post, but this may be a stroke of genius.

  3. To play our best players and to cosistent with team choice to give kuzak a chance as we need goals to stop picking players you are not good enough for example playing gabby up front as lone striker he is not a striker he is best out wide when he is up for it playing Richardson who is not a left back and offers nothing in midfield he must play our more gifted players Gil gana toara greyish Vermont okore Clark Richards and maybe some of our youth talent and drop less of from defence as is performance have been poor

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