Rémi Garde Takes Hard Line on Grealish & Kozak and Ponders Defensive Concerns

The Exiled

After only three games, it’s too early to judge a manager, but Aston Villa boss Rémi Garde is not letting the club’s precarious position at the foot of the Premier League panic his principled approach.

Most people would have considered a week with the Under-21’s and dropping from the match day squad against Watford, as punishment enough for Jack Grealish, but Gardes’ discipline of the young winger continues, as he is to be frozen out of the team again this weekend at Southampton.

While MOMS felt the press reaction to Grealish’s exploits was over the top, Garde can’t be faulted with his sobering no-nonsense approach. Garde knows that Villa’s survival hopes don’t exactly rest on a player’s shoulders, who has only started 15 games in a Villa shirt. But Grealish returning to the fold newly focused and lesson learned, would certainly be a help in a survival battle that would be a minor miracle, if successful.

It seems judging from the below clip from Garde’s interview with Sky, that the Villa boss has had a proper meeting with Grealish and a return date has been set.

In his pre-match press duties for the Southampton game, Garde also suggested that Libor Kozak currently wouldn’t add anything to Villa’s forward-line despite being fit now, after an almost two year lay-off.

Some Villa supporters have called for the Czech forward to be included in match-day squads, but since returning from his injury setback, he has been overlooked by both Tim Sherwood and Garde, despite the team’s struggles, which suggests he might not be the same player now.

The January transfer window will certainly be an interesting time for Kozak, who will probably seek at least a loan period away from the club.

Defensive Woe

The Villa boss may have to rethink the defence if a late fitness test doesn’t go Micah Richards’ way. With Ciaran Clark suspended, Jose Crespo injured and Tiago Ilori deemed not fit enough, there’s a good chance that a fully-fit Jores Okore will finally see action again.

Gardi has noticeably dropped Joleon Lescott since taking over, so it will be interesting to see if Okore will get the nod over Lescott, to replace Clark, if Richards is passed fit.

The problem of replacing the injured Jordan Amavi is still proving the main problem for Garde, as Richardson certainly can’t be considered even a short-term solution based on recent performances. UTV

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  1. garde is taking the right stance on Grealish and the defence. Its clear that unless giving away goals is sorted the trap door will open. Okore has to start and be given the chance to show if he is better than the rest. Only Richards would be first choice if fit, Clark and Richardson have both made mistakes and Lescott looks completely lost.

    Replacing Amavi is the biggest challenge if we cannot get Bennett and Cissokho back till January. The left back position continues to be the major weakness of the defence.

    Trevor FIsher

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