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Villa sack Gerrard as Ronaldo casts shadow over Man Utd

Villa sack Gerrard as Ronaldo casts shadow over Man Utd

FOOTBALL: Steven Gerrard was sacked as Aston Villa manager less than two hours after his struggling side crashed to a dismal 3-0 defeat at Fulham last night (Oct 20).

FootballPremier-League
By AFP

Friday 21 October 2022, 10:53AM


Villa have won only two of their 11 league matches this term under Gerrard. Photo: AFP

Villa have won only two of their 11 league matches this term under Gerrard. Photo: AFP

Gerrard paid the price for Villa’s wretched start to the season, which sees the club languishing just one place above the Premier League relegation zone.

Villa have won only two of their 11 league matches this term and their tame surrender at Craven Cottage proved the final straw for the club’s hierarchy as they axed Gerrard after just 11 months in charge.

Gerrard and his players had been booed off at full-time by Villa’s furious fans after the loss at Fulham extended their winless run to four matches.

“Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that head coach Steven Gerrard has left the club with immediate effect,” a statement said.

“We would like to thank Steven for his hard work and commitment and wish him well for the future.”

Gerrard led Villa to a 14th place finish last term after arriving from Rangers to replace the sacked Dean Smith last November on a three-and-a-half year contract.

The former Liverpool and England star was expected to push Villa higher up the table this season, but instead he leaves with the club firmly embroiled in a relegation battle.

Ten Hag lays down law to Ronaldo

Elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest show of petulance has cast a shadow over Manchester United ahead of their crunch Premier League clash with Chelsea.

No matter what Erik ten Hag does to lift Manchester United towards respectability in his first season, the Dutchman is yet to escape the long shadow cast by Ronaldo.

Ronaldo’s latest show of disdain for Ten Hag’s authority came in the final minutes of Wednesday’s 2-0 win against Tottenham when he walked down the Old Trafford tunnel while the match was still in progress.

The 37-year-old’s refusal to wait for the final whistle reportedly came after he told Ten Hag he did not want to come on as a late substitute.

Ronaldo’s temper tantrum was not his first this term and, after his failed attempt to engineer a transfer in the close-season, the Portugal striker is clearly frustrated at finding himself in limbo.

In response to Ronaldo’s antics, Ten Hag has finally laid down the law and the star, who has scored just twice in 12 appearances this season, has been dropped from the squad that will travel to Chelsea tomorrow.

United will surely look to end Ronaldo’s turbulent second spell at the club by selling him in the January transfer window, but until then Ten Hag has to deal with the malcontent’s presence in the background.

Nunez revival lifts Liverpool

At Liverpool Darwin Nunez is rounding into form at just the right time as the Uruguay forward rewards Klopp for his patience.

Nunez was sent off in his first Premier League game at Anfield against Crystal Palace in August and then went five games without a goal, fuelling unflattering comparisons with Manchester City’s prolific striker Erling Haaland.

But, with Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz sidelined by injuries, Liverpool boss Klopp needed Nunez to start showing why he paid £64 million to sign him from Benfica in the close-season.

And the 23-year-old has risen to the challenge, with his winner in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over West Ham taking him to five goals for the Reds, including three in his last four games.

“It is important. He has scored now a couple of times in the last few games. He arrived 100%, now even with numbers, which is fine,” Klopp said.

Liverpool have recorded consecutive league victories for only the second time this season and head to struggling Nottingham Forest tomorrow aiming to close the gap on the top four.

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Spurs keep faith over top-four woes

Outclassed by Manchester United in a 2-0 defeat that could have been far heavier, Tottenham have yet to silence the critics who question their poor record against the other contenders for a top-four place.

Antonio Conte’s side were well below their best at Old Trafford in a limp display reminiscent of their recent 3-1 loss in the north London derby at Arsenal.

Tottenham also needed a controversial stoppage-time equaliser from Harry Kane to rescue a 2-2 draw at Chelsea in August.

That series of underwhelming performances when the stakes were highest has led some to doubt Tottenham’s right to be ranked as title contenders, despite their current lofty third-place position.

However, Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris insists it is too early to panic.

“It’s not everything dark and everything bright, it was in between,” Lloris said prior to Sunday’s meeting with Newcastle.

“It’s too early to analyse because, I know you’re going to say Chelsea, Arsenal and now Manchester United, we have to see also when they come to our stadium how it will be. But yes it’s frustrating to lose a tough game.”

Fixtures

Saturday (All Phuket times)

Nottingham Forest v Liverpool (6:30pm)

Everton v Crystal Palace (9pm)

Manchester City v Brighton (9pm)

Chelsea v Manchester United (11:30pm)

Sunday

Aston Villa v Brentford (8pm)

Leeds v Fulham (8pm)

Southampton v Arsenal (8pm)

Wolves v Leicester (8pm)

Tottenham v Newcastle (10:30pm)

Tuesday

West Ham v Bournemouth (2am)

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