Roberto Di Matteo

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Di Matteo fired after Aston Villa’s poor start to season

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Roberto Di Matteo has been put out of his misery.

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On Monday Aston Villa fired the Italian manager after just one win in his opening 12 games in charge saw the English giant in 19th place in the second-tier of English soccer.

Giving huge amounts of cash to spend by Villa’s new Chinese owner Tony Xia, Di Matteo failed to stop the rot following Villa’s disastrous 2015-16 campaign which saw them relegated from the Premier League as they finished in 20th position.

In a brief statement on their website, Villa confirmed Di Matteo is no longer in charge after he only took charge back in June.

Aston Villa Football Club has today parted company with manager Roberto Di Matteo. The Club decided to act following a run of disappointing results which has the left the team occupying 19th position in the Championship.

The Club would like to place on record its appreciation to Roberto for all his efforts in helping rebuild the squad and wish him well for the future. Steve Clarke will take over as caretaker manager during the search for a new manager. There will be no further comment from the Club.

The front runners with the bookies to take charge are current caretaker Steve Clarke and former Hull City boss Steve Bruce.

Bruce would seem like the wise choice as the former Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and Sunderland manager has masterminded several promotion campaigns to the Premier League and can build teams into being tough to beat in England’s notoriously tricky second-tier.

Right now, Villa are a mess.

They are still one of England’s biggest clubs and the former European champions have a wealthy owner who is willing to spend big to get them back to the PL. There’s no doubting Villa’s squad is massively underachieving and that cost Di Matteo his job, with many believing it was a slightly bizarre appointment in the first place.

Villa’s issues go back a lot further than a poor start to this season which culminated in a 2-0 defeat at Preston North End on Saturday.

With Tim Sherwood, Remi Garde and now Di Matteo all fired within the past 12 months, the top job at Villa Park is beginning to resemble a poisoned chalice.

Reports: Aston Villa evaluating Roberto Di Matteo’s position, could make a change

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Aston Villa has suffered through a disastrous start to its Championship campaign, and Roberto Di Matteo could already be feeling the heat.

According to a number of reports including the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, Di Matteo is expected to be removed from his position as manager in the next 48 hours, although no certain decision has yet been made.

After being relegated from the Premier League last season by finishing bottom of the table with just 17 points, Villa’s horrific form has carried over to this season. The club has started the Championship season with just a single win in its first 11 league matches, with that victory coming way back in mid-August. They sit 19th in the Championship table with 10 points.

While the club’s defensive record has improved mightily – just 12 goals conceded in 11 matches, a far cry from the 76 they allowed in the Premier League last season – the club still struggles to score goals. They have just three goals scored in their last five matches, despite spending $18.5 million on former Fulham striker Ross McCormack to alleviate the issues up front. McCormack missed a penalty late in their 2-0 defeat to Preston North End on Saturday.

According to the Daily Mail report, the favorite to replace Di Matteo is Bristol City manager Lee Johnson. Another favorite name is Steve Bruce, the man who suddenly left Hull City just days before the Premier League season began. However, Villa will have to battle the FA for Bruce’s signature due to the England vacancy, a position Bruce was heavily linked to just before his Hull departure.

Championship season under way with favorites Newcastle already dropped by Fulham

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Had we done this Championship season preview a few hours ago, we’d sit here and tell you how Rafa Benitez and Newcastle are the clear favorites to win the league and make a straight return to Premier League play.

Oh, how things change in a few hours.

Fulham – last season’s defensive punchlines – took down a frail looking Newcastle 1-0 at Craven Cottage. Here are three things you need to know from this match: Newcastle did not put on a title-winning performance, looking shaky at the back; Fulham, on the other hand, looks a completely revitalized squad with a host of solid signings; and one of those new additions, Denis Odoi, completed this utterly ridiculous bit of skill, sending Paul Dummett to the woodshed:

Nevertheless, the Magpies remain the clear favorite in the league, with Rafa Benitez one of two Champions League-winning managers in the English second tier. The other is Roberto Di Matteo, the new Aston Villa manager charged with bringing them back to the Premier League with a much more underwhelming squad than Newcastle boasts. Di Matteo does have the chance to deploy a bright, shiny new toy up front in experienced Championship striker Ross McCormack, signed from Fulham on Thursday for a healthy sum of cash.

There are plenty of contenders for those promotion spots, however, and as always in the Championship, it’s a long, slog of a season to keep the favorites honest. Reading finished 17th last season, and replaced Brian McDermott with former Champions League winning player in Jaap Stam, handing the 44-year-old his first managerial job. Fulham is another side to keep an eye on, who finished 20th last year with a miserable defensive record, but despite the loss of leading scorer McCormack, as displayed in their victory over Benitez and Newcastle, they’ve made a host of smart signings and look to be a solid side under the management of former Chelsea midfielder Slavisa Jokanovic.

Derby County is another contender, having found themselves just barely on the wrong side of promotion yet again last year. Under the wing of Nigel Pearson – the man who brought Leicester City to the Premier League – they’ll give it another go. QPR is always a team to look out for, although they were uncharacteristically quiet this summer. Brighton Hove & Albion missed out on promotion last season on goal differential, and after succeeding in fending off interest in some of their best players this summer, they look ready to go, plus the addition of experienced midfielder Steve Sidwell.

The grinding nature of life in the Championship has begun again – with a shocking result already upon us on opening day – and it promises to be a wild ride as always, with everything on the line.

Aston Villa names Roberto Di Matteo new manager

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It was rumored but Aston Villa got the man they wanted to help guide the club back to the Premier League next season.

[ MORE: Leicester completes move for German keeper Zieler ]

After a 2015-16 campaign that saw plenty more disappointments than positives, Villa has made sweeping changes this offseason.

The club confirmed the hiring of new manager Roberto Di Matteo on Friday, after several successful coaching stints in England.

“It’s a wonderful honour for me to become manager of this great football club and I’m looking forward to the challenge of taking Aston Villa back to its rightful place,” Di Matteo said upon being hired.

Well known for his Champions League achievement with Chelsea in 2012, Di Matteo will have to wait a bit for that sort of opportunity, however, the task at hand for the Italian remains quite important.

In addition to his triumph with the Blues, the 46-year-old previously guided West Bromwich Albion to Premier League promotion in 2010, something that he will now try to replicate with the Villans when they play in the Championship come August.

[ MORE: Could Diego Simeone be the next PSG manager? ]

The historic club has brought in new owner/businessman Tony Xia this offseason, and it already appears to be paying dividends between his financial awareness and now the addition of Di Matteo.

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Familiar names: Monk, Coyle, Di Matteo take over Championship sides

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Three very different journeys have taken former Premier League managers back to English football, as Garry Monk, Roberto Di Matteo, and Owen Coyle are headed to Championship clubs.

After quitting Houston Dynamo last week, Coyle has found a home at Blackburn Rovers. It’s the 49-year-old’s third stop since his firing from Bolton in 2012.

[ MORE: Man City signs Gundogan from BVB ]

Di Matteo won a Champions League-FA Cup double for Chelsea before spending time at Schalke. He’ll take the reigns at Aston Villa as owner Tony Xia looks to boost the Midlands club directly back to the Premier League.

A surprise hiring at Swansea City following the firing of Michael Laudrup, Monk had a strong start to his career as a manager before being fired early this year. The 37-year-old Monk is the latest hire at Leeds United, a club that had seen 7 men at the helm since April 2013.

The Championship will be some story to follow next year, with that well-known trio joining Rafa Benitez, Alex Neil, Chris Hughton and Steven Caldwell as second-tier bosses. Promotion is not a certainty for any club.