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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Kevin MacDonald’s Last Game in Charge Before Villa’s French Revolution

Tottenham v Aston Villa 2015

It’s been called the ‘Tim Sherwood derby’ by some of the more creative commentators, but in truth the focus will be on who is (or isn’t) sitting in the stands.

If reports are to be believed, ex-Lyon manager Remi Garde could be announced as the new Villa boss before the game kicks off, but MacDonald will continue to hold the fort after Villa bowed out of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

With Spurs in good form at home it’s a tough ask for Villa to get any points, but at the same time Villa can’t afford to be picky about where and when they pick up results…

villa’s losing streak is the longest current run of any Premier League side

Pochettino on Sherwood

“In Europe the pressure is always there. When I was in Spain, Argentina and France, we would say it was ­different in England, more stable, because there were a lot of ­examples like Arsene Wenger or Sir Alex Ferguson.

“But now after three years here I can see how it has started to change. It’s true there is more pressure on the manager and things are ­demanded quickly, results are ­demanded quickly. Maybe before it was different but now it’s like the style from Europe has arrived in England.

“Why? Maybe before it was ­different and today, with a lot of owners having arrived from ­Europe, it’s a different ­mentality. It’s difficult to give time to ­developing projects in football. Maybe you buy the club, you sign the manager and you want the title after three months.

One positive or ­negative result can affect your ­account a lot. And this is why ­maybe it has started to change and there is now no patience.”

MacDonald on Villa’s Attitude

“It’s a case of changing it to say ‘we start again.’ This is our first game of the season. We have 28 games in the season now. We need to get possibly 36-40 points.

“It’s a big ask looking at the stats we have at the moment but we don’t feel it’s impossible to do. It has to start on Monday. The players are determined. When you become a professional sportsman, what you’re trying to do is be the best you can be.

“You play sport to be successful. So the pride of the lads is hurt because they are bottom of the league. The morale is fine. Training has been good. It’s been lively. They are bouncy with one another.

“But their pride is hurt and they are determined to try and become better. There is still a big pride in this for all of us. We’re hoping to push on.

“Whoever takes over, we will back him to the hilt like we did with all other managers before.”

Memory Match

11th April 2015 Tottenham 0 Aston Villa 1

A goal from Christian Benteke ensured it was a happy return to White Hart Lane for Tim Sherwood

Spurs – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 3

Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, L 4 

Villa have won just once during the last five trips to White Hart Lane

One to Watch

Harry Kane – the England striker has scored four goals in as many league games, including a hat-trick against Bournemouth last weekend

 

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

It was perhaps surprising to see some fight from Villa during the mid-week clash against Southampton. We started the game well and had some decent chances but the ease in which Southampton scored will be a concern for any new manager.

Despite winning at the Lane back in April, lots of things have changed, and a trip to Spurs is intimidating when you consider the damage they did to Man City a few weeks ago.

They have lost just one of their last 13 league games against Villa, that result coming when Sherwood brought a Villa squad high on confidence back to his old stomping ground.

Spurs will be confident against a Villa squad in turmoil, particularly when you consider Spurs are unbeaten in their last nine league games. They’re the only side unbeaten since their opening match day, during which they lost to Man United.

It will be a big ask for interim boss Kevin MacDonald to end our current run on Monday, a losing streak that’s the longest current run of any Premier League side (no points in six games).

“One positive or ­negative result can affect your ­account a lot. And this is why ­maybe it has started to change and there is now no patience.” – Pochettino on Sherwood

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

Considering that Garde will probably be watching on Monday, it would be nice to see a slightly varied lineup.

Despite Sherwood’s departure his legacy seemed to linger over the starting XI which disappointingly included some of the season’s low performers.

MacDonald has talked up the likes of Veretout in the build up to this match so it would be a good opportunity to show the new manager what he has to work with.

Aside from that, we must hope for a respectable performance. Any sort of result would be a bonus, but against a side who just scored five goals away at Bournemouth, as unambitious as it sounds, goal difference has to be a concern when evaluating how the season could worryingly pan out.

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

After Rodgers was sacked by Liverpool, a potentially tricky looking trip to White Hart Lane ended with a decent point thanks to a 0-0 draw.

OK, we don’t have a new manager yet, but it might be that the presence of a new coach boosts the performance levels of Villa’s players.

Any appointment will be a gamble for Villa, who seem to have severe problems regarding the way the club is run, but we have to hope we get the sort of boost (‘manager bounce’) we got when Sherwood was first appointed last season.

It’s a difficult position but we have plenty of league games left to turn it around.

Unfortunately Villa have become a club who offer little to the Premier League. Hopefully, in front of the Sky Sports cameras, we can show we can compete – even as a manager-less entity.

UTV.

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1 COMMENT

  1. A lone point would do. FFS can someone tell me how its right to ban a player 90 minutes before a kick off. Even if it was Richards and I wanted him dropped. Irony.

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