The Premier League table since Unai Emery took over at Aston Villa

One of the more inspired mid-season manager changes in recent years has seen Unai Emery take the reigns at Aston Villa with the club slipping towards the relegation zone.

The Birmingham side have invested huge amounts of money in their playing squad over the past few years to ensure they do not go back into the Championship and they can start to push for the lower European places in the Premier League.

That is why they had to act decisively when it became clear that Steven Gerrard was not going to get the best out of the current squad.

When did Aston Villa hire Unai Emery?

Aston Villa announced the signing of Unai Emery on October 25 having sacked Steven Gerrard the week before. Having recently won the Europa League, Emery was hot property and Newcastle had tried to bring him in earlier in the year.

The squad at Villa is undoubtedly talented and not one that should be anywhere near the bottom of the table. As Emery took over, they were sat in 15th place, having won just 12 points from their first 12 games. Villa would win and lose their two games by a 4-0 scoreline under caretaker Aaron Danks before Emery took charge for real.

How has Unai Emery done at Villa?

Emery agreed to succeed Gerrard at Villa Park but work permit issues meant caretaker boss Danks took charge of a trip to Newcastle. That ended 4-0 to the hosts and saw Villa drop to 16th.

Emery's first game in charge proved to be a belter as they inflicted defeat on Erik ten Hag's Manchester United in early November, smashing the Red Devils 3-1 with a comprehensive performance.

Unai Emery has got the best from his talented squad | James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

An away win against Brighton followed before the World Cup break, something that Villa and their fans could have done without after the upturn in form. Those six points took them to 12th though, and they spent the break thinking the only way must be up.

A defeat to Liverpool and a win over Spurs greeted Villa fans on their return to Premier League action, followed by a draw against Wolves in the West Midlands derby and victories over Leeds and Southampton.

Those generally positive results mean Villa are in 11th place but only three points off sixth place. The objective now will surely be a top-half finish, which is much better than the objective at the end of Gerrard's time which was to avoid relegation.

Premier League table since Unai Emery's appointment at Aston Villa

*As of 26/1/2023

Aston Villa January 2023 transfers

Jhon Duran was signed by Villa from Chicago Fire | Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/GettyImages

There is scope for Aston Villa to improve further as the season goes on, having added Spanish winger Alex Moreno (£11.8m) and Colombian forward Jhon Duran (£14.8m) to their squad so far in January.

Morgan Sanson has left the club on loan for Strasbourg after struggling to have an impact in the Premier League, while Danny Ings has been sold to West Ham United for £10.5m.

Source : 90min