Five things Remi Garde must do to save Aston Villa

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Remi Garde is the latest man to be tasked with turning around the fortunes of Aston Villa, who parted company with Tim Sherwood last month after a poor start to the season.

To an outsider, the Frenchman faces arguably the toughest job of all 20 top-flight managers, with Villa facing the possibility of dropping out of England's top division for the first time since the inception of the Premier League.

But what must Garde do to succeed at this unenviable task?


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Get help from Arsene Wenger

Appointing a manager with no league experience is not often a wise move, especially when the club is languishing at the wrong end of the table. The former Lyon boss has an impressive CV, guiding the French side to the double in 2012 during his first season in charge.

Although the Frenchman has undertaken his first job in England, it’s not as if he doesn’t know the Premier League well. He played for Arsenal between 1996-1999 and was Arsene Wenger’s first signing.

Garde has remained on good terms with the long-serving Gunners boss. He will seek his assistance in times of need and the 66-year-old will also look out for him.

Ensure his team are united

The recruitment of a number of French-speaking players this summer could yet play into Garde’s hands with many excited by his arrival at Villa Park. Although the new boss can speak both English and French, he must not be seen to favour those from his country which could well create problems.

Captain Micah Richards, and long-serving seniors Gabby Agbonlahor and Brad Guzan are very vocal in the dressing room but having a French manager could help to bring the Gallic contingent out of their shell. It could, however, also backfire.

Consult with club legends

Seeking assistance from former players at the club; who know what it is like to play in front of the Holte End, what the fans require to keep them satisfied, and just how big the club used to be, can give Garde an idea of the task he faces.

Getting familiar to the English philosophy and understanding the Aston Villa culture will certainly do the Frenchman no harm. It is expected that Garde would have done his research into the club before taking the job and should, therefore, have a good idea of what he faces over the coming months.

When Sherwood was appointed he called Kevin MacDonald back to Villa Park as his assistant because he knew the fabric of the club. Former skipper Stiliyan Petrov was also involved. Without their influence, Villa may well have slipped out of the top-flight.

Make Villa Park a fortress

In their last 82 games at home Aston Villa have amassed just 83 points. Statistics like that make it hard to believe that they are still a Premier League side.

The top clubs in the division and around Europe build their success around their home form and Villa need to adopt a similar approach if they are to escape the drop. Garde started with a goalless draw at home to table-toppers Manchester City, an impressive result under the circumstances.

However, the Villains have collected just two home points in six games this season. Converting Villa Park back into a ground feared by the opposition could well be Garde’s biggest task in keeping his new side afloat.

Find a solution for goals

Unsurprisingly, Villa’s slide towards relegation trouble in recent seasons has coincided with a major shortage of goals. Garde inherits a side that are currently the joint-lowest scorers in the division with just 10 scored in 12 league games.

This is not a new issue though; Villa were the second-lowest scorers during the last campaign and since losing Christian Benteke to Liverpool, the crisis has only deepened.

The new Villa manager has a number of options to choose from with Rudy Gestede, a summer recruit from Blackburn, a firm favourite among supporters and former boss Sherwood. The introduction of a new manager will present opportunities to all squad members and whoever Garde chooses, they must start scoring to fire Villa away from the unthinkable of relegation.

Aston Villa
Premier League

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