It took us, what, 10 games to get it off our chests? That’s how quickly we’ve decided a man that managed in the top third of Ligue 1 "doesn’t know what he’s doing" at Aston Villa?
When Carles Gil, who had probably been Villa’s best player in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers, came off the pitch in the 71st minute, it was probably right to be a little annoyed by the sub. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Spaniard going off, but my first reaction wasn’t to criticize manager Rémi Garde for the move.
Nah, I thought: "How many times has Gil actually gone the full 90 minutes this year?" In the league, he’s done it just twice.
It’s been a common hallmark of Gil’s season that he’s good for 60 or 70 minutes a match and then fades quickly — making a substitution likely necessary. The final 20-25 minutes of his latest 90-minute run, at Sunderland, don’t seem to bode well for the argument he should’ve stayed in.
But beyond Gil’s fitness issues, there’s other things to take note of when proclaiming to Garde that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
The way the away supporters reacted to the switch — and trust me, people noticed the singing — was as if Garde had taken Gil off for, I don’t know, Joleon Lescott in a 1-1 match against a worse opponent. In reality, the Frenchman brought on Jordan Veretout, a player who easily settled into Gil’s vacated role in a nice one-for-one swap. Getting fresh legs on in attacking positions as a match draws to a close is generally a positive move.
"But wait, there’s more!"
Think back to yesterday’s match and consider what Villa’s best period of play was. The Villans were never particularly great in that match, but the sustained pressure they were able to apply in the Wycombe third — enough to make the colour commentator remark that there was only one side, Villa, who looked capable of winning the tie — in the final 20 minutes of the match was better than anything the squad had done throughout the previous 70 minutes.
Coincidentally, those 20 minutes were after Garde made the substitution that somehow showed he "didn’t know what he was doing."
So let’s recap:
- Rémi Garde took off a player who’s rarely gone the full 90 minutes in starts this season.
- He swapped an attacking-minded midfielder for another one to get fresher legs on the pitch to push for a winner without changing shape in a match where Wycombe rarely threatened from open play.
- After the change was made, Villa entered their best period of the game, helped by Veretout and Jordan Ayew, who also came on in the same substitution.