Unai Emery has been one of the most esteemed managers of the modern era, to little fanfare given that much of his managerial success has come in competitions like the Europa League and Ligue 1. But Emery is yet to truly fail in a managerial role, and looks prepared to only continue his incredible reputation at Aston Villa. When he took over from Steven Gerrard, Villa were hovering around the relegation zone, desperately trying to stay afloat. Now they've attained four wins from their last six matches, in a robust 4-4-2 system that has dragged them all the way toward the top ten. Here is our analysis of how Emery has achieved so much success in his early days at Villa Park.
As goal-contributors, defensive warriors and midfield engines all wrapped up in one modem, 'Box to Box Midfielders' end up being some of the most imperative members of their squads. Unlike other midfield player types, they consistently catch the eye for their attacking performances, even when deployed in a deeper, defensive, 'number 8' role. The likes of Conor Gallagher, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Georgia Stanway perfectly encapsulate the role, helping us to qualify and quantify more of these 'Box-to-Box' engines in the future.
Steven Gerrard's recruitment team have been extremely busy in the first few months under his leadership. From being one of the greatest footballers of his generation and a man with an ever-growing reputation, Gerrard provides a massive pull-power, securing the services of Philippe Coutinho in his first month at the club. Now preceding an underwhelming 14th place finish in the league last season, the Villains have pinpointed the exact areas of the side that need improving. We've already seen the permanent additions of Philippe Coutinho, Robin Olsen, Boubacar Kamara and Diego Carlos, taking the rest of the Premier League by storm. The window only officially opened for business on June 10th, but the early business from Gerrard's men arrows toward an exhilarating season in store for Villa Park's supporters.
Gerrard remains a relatively inexperienced manager, but with a clear sense of tactical knowhow, the former Liverpool legend appears to be long for this world. Gerrard's won four from his first ten in charge, and added his first draw to the mix this past weekend against Manchester United with an extraordinary comeback. New additions in Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho have also entered the frame, providing the perfect time to take a look at how Gerrard has settled into life at Villa Park so far. Here is our tactical analysis of Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa in 2021-22.