Former Aston Villa midfielder Paul Merson has hit out at the timing of the club sacking manager Remi Garde.
Garde was fired after 20 games in charge of the club, leading the team to just two wins.
Villa are bottom of the Premier League and appear doomed to relegation.
Garde was fired on Tuesday evening, and Merson has told SkySports that the former Lyon manager should have been sacked months earlier.
He said: "I don't know what has happened at Villa, it's a bit of a joke to be honest. They had a two-week break and then sack the manager three days before the next game, very strange.
"He should have gone ages ago. He should have gone after the transfer window when they didn't sign anybody, but he stayed and they haven't got any better."
Garde took over from Tim Sherwood, who was fired in October after leading the team to just one win, and Garde never looked like being able to reverse the team's slide.
Merson added that he predicts a 3-0 home loss for Villa against Chelsea this coming weekend.
After a difficult season by their own standards, Chelsea are up to 10th place, and have not lost any of their last 10 league games.
Villa have lost their last six matches in a row, scoring just 22 goals in 31 games.