Aston Villa vs Stoke City 2015
Well, Villa finally have that new manager buzz. For the first time in a while, there’s a sense of positivity around Villa Park and Stoke will certainly be fearful of the positive impact of Sherwood’s appointment. Training under the new boss has been described as “electric” but we’ve struggled against Stoke in recent seasons at home…
Villa have lost their last five Premier League matches.
Sherwood says Villa won’t go down
“All I can do is do my best and I think my best is going to be good enough. I am grateful for the opportunity here and I will give it everything.”
Sherwood say experience is overrated
“Some experienced managers are very good and some are not very good.
“I think experience is overrated. If it was all about experience Wayne Rooney wouldn’t play for Everton at 16.
“(Pep) Guardiola didn’t have to go out and work in the lower leagues did he? It helps when you have the best players in the world. Don’t get me wrong.”
Mark Hughes on Sherwood
“They have a new manager and will have something of a new manager bounce. They will want to impress,”
“We have to be aware of that. We don’t expect anything else and we have to be ready.
“They have a new manager in place and he comes across as a very positive guy.”
Hughes on Villa punching below weight
“You still look at Villa’s squad and think they should be doing better. I don’t know why they’ve struggled so much.
“It will be a challenge for us but we look forward to it.”
Hughes on Stoke being better than recent poor results against Blackburn and City
“We’ve been doing okay, we’ve had a couple of poor results but prior to that we had a good run.
“I wouldn’t think anyone will take us lightly as we’ve proved for long periods we can cause people problems. We can match our finish last season. We’re as near as we can be to being on track, we have some opportunities to better last year’s total.”
23rd March 2014 Aston Villa 1 Stoke City 4
Despite a 5th minute opener from Benteke Villa capitulated during one of many poor home performances last season.
Villa– Last five matches at home: D 3, L 2
Stoke – Last five matches away: W 2, D 2, L 1
One to Watch
Peter Crouch – Scored against Blackburn and Man City in Stoke’s last games and seems to have a knack of scoring against Villa
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Whether it’s scoring more goals or keeping more clean sheets, it shouldn’t be hard for Sherwood to improve on recent Villa stats. While the new manager celebrated wildly in the director’s area during the Leicester FA Cup win, he’ll be under no illusions about how we’ve been doing in the league.
Admittedly we’ve encountered teams such as Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea yes, but we’ve lost our last five matches in the Premier League. Bizarrely, we got six points from those three selected fixtures last season! To make things worse, we’ve also been losing at half-time in the last matches too.
The second half against Leicester last weekend was a good performance but the first will have shown Sherwood exactly what was wrong with Villa’s style of football. We struggled to break down the Foxes in the early stages of the cup game but at least the FA Cup has been giving us respite from the league statistics – We’ve have failed to score in 7 of the last 8 league matches!
On paper it certainly looks like a match for the purists – both teams are right at the bottom of the table in terms of shot accuracy.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
The appointment of Sherwood has the fans excited about the team’s attacking potential. Inspired by the new man’s team talk, Villa certainly seemed a lot more eager to get forward and get chances.
Further improvement, though, is also required at the other end of the pitch – Villa have conceded at least twice in the last four league matches.
With only 13 more league games to go, Sherwood wouldn’t have joined if he didn’t think he could keep the team up. A good result on Saturday would kick-start a much-needed form revival ahead of more winnable games and get us climbing the table – as well as giving us our first (and only) league double!
Obviously we’re hoping to see an improved performance, but let’s hope we see one that demonstrates the potential that Sherwood sees in the squad, with a set-up that brings the best out of Benteke.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Tim Sherwood won 59% of his Barclays Premier League matches in charge of Spurs. It’s certainly an impressive record, but we must remember the players he had at his disposal at White Hart Lane.
Still, he managed to get the best out of under-performing players such as Adebayor and it’s certainly enough reason for many Villa fans to believe he has what it takes to steer the side away from the dreaded relegation zone.
The FA Cup win was particularly useful for the club. Not only did we see the power of a Sherwood team talk, it’s fortunate that Sherwood could use the time to evaluate the squad with extra time to prepare for the Stoke clash.
While Villa are buoyed by that win, ten-man Stoke were on the wrong side of a 4-1 scoreline at Blackburn Rovers that weekend. To make matters worse, they’re missing several key players through injury – particularly in the defensive ranks.
Sherwood’s said he believes the squad should be doing much better, and with Gil and Agbonlahor back in contention he has even more to choose from as he prepares his first ever Villa XI.
A managerial switch has restored a bit of faith amongst the fans. While a draw might not be the worst result, a much-needed win would be an excellent way for Sherwood to announce himself to the Villa faithful.
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