Villa were 3/1 outsiders against Bournemouth, with odds like that then the bookies must think we’re heading off to the Championship… But, after the third opening day victory in a row, what can Villa take from the first game of the season in Tim Sherwood’s managerial career that defied pretty much all the pundits predictions? What we learnt as Aston Villa fans after the 1-0 away win…
YOU LITTLE LIAR!
Tim Sherwood might have been engaged in a few porkie-pies in the build-up to the kick-off of the season. He suggested some of his new signings (in particular Vertout and Gestede) hadn’t been with the team long enough to be considered for the match-day squad against Bournemouth, and yet when his squad was announced Vertout was starting and Gestede was on the bench for the game at Bournemouth.
Now maybe things changed on Friday. Maybe he changed his mind after talking to the players and decided to include them. Or maybe he was looking for an edge as a team without the cultured midfielder and the target man would have to rely on pacy counter attacks (which as it goes, Bournemouth looked pretty comfortable with for most of the game).
Either way, it proved he’s not above saying one thing to the press in the days before a game and then doing something different when the time comes – which Fantasy Football players should bear in mind too!
THESE THINGS TAKE TIME
For all the promise of the new season with a handful of new players making their debuts it wasn’t a great first half. Sherwood said he wouldn’t have chosen a game against a newly promoted team with a point to prove as the season opener and in the first half Villa couldn’t get anything going, while Bournemouth looked much more comfortable.
Luckily the season is a marathon, not a sprint and there’s plenty of time to eek out a few goals from set-pieces until a more free-flowing style incorporating Ayew (who was largely AWOL until he was subbed), Vertout (who showed a little at times but also looked tired by the end) and Gestede (who should start against Manchester United) if that’s what it takes.
Who knows if there’s another player or two to come in before the deadline? A veteran forward? A leader in midfield? Another centre back? It might be a month before Sherwood even knows his best XI. Patience and a few more nervous wins will do until then.
The most satisfying part of the narrow victory over the Cherries was the addition of a genuine Plan B into the mix. With Agbonlahor getting the ball too far from the goal and the defence winning the battle against the dangerous Scott Sinclair, Sherwood rolled the dice on including Rudy Gestede into the mix and – what do you know? – he comes up with the winning goal.
Arrogant Paul Lambert would have kept up the plodding attack that was going nowhere – or maybe thrown on the ace up his sleeve: Charles N’Zogbia – and turned a big point away from home into a limp 1-0 defeat with no change of attitude or game plan, then said we were excellent and done the same again in the next game. Tactics Tim put his big man up front and it was like a shot in the arm that stopped the “are you Walsall in disguise?” chants in their tracks.
It doesn’t sound like Adebayor is coming to the Villa after all. Press reports (always to be taken with a pinch of salt) speculate he wasn’t prepared to come to Villa on loan, even with his full salary being paid, because he didn’t want to move to Birmingham and Sherwood insisted he did.
The vocal fans reaction was predictable (“He’s coming? I’ve always rated him…” then “He’s not coming? Good – the greedy, lazy has-been…”) but there’s something in the air that suggests the story isn’t over yet. In a couple more games if there aren’t goals flying in, there’s every chance the deal could be revisited – unless something else hasn’t been figured out.
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