After rescuing Aston Villa from what seemed like certain relegation Tim Sherwood gained the favour of much of the Villa faithful, and rightly so. Paul Lambert’s dour, unimaginative reign appeared to have doomed the club to a Premier League exit but Sherwood’s arrival parted the clouds and ensured that the sunshine of the top league in the country would shine on Villa Park for at least another season.

While the short-term catalyst of Sherwood was always likely to bring an improvement in Villa fortunes, question marks still remained on whether the inexperienced manager could cope in the long-term.

Last year the former Spurs boss promised that under his tenure that Villa would not be dragged into a relegation battle again, and he cited the fact that he was about to embark on his first ever full preseason and transfer window as evidence of brighter times at Villa Park. With the new season underway let’s take a look at how Tim Sherwood is faring in the Aston Villa hotseat.

New faces and Dead Wood

One area where Sherwood has kept his word is in clearing out the dead wood of the squad. Players who have been deemed as not good enough have been shipped out without delay. A whole raft of sub par players headed for the door and the only real failure in that regard was failing to offload a few high earners and has beens such as N’Zogbia, Senderos, and arguably Joe Cole and Kieran Richardson. Overall there are less duds in the squad then at the end of the 2014/15 season. A good start.

Obviously the space left behind by departing stars and snakes left a void to be filled and Sherwood wasted no time recruiting players. It’s been a mixed bag of those who certainly have shown ability and potential, and those who are yet to adapt to the standard of the league.

 

Of the former most would agree that Micah Richards, Jordan Amavi, Scott Sinclair, Adama Traore, and Idriss Gueye look like good buys. Early signs suggest that Joleon Lescott, the most recent arrival, will easily form a solid partnership with Richards at the back too.

Despite the distinct possibility and clear hope that they will adapt fast and give the squad a much needed lift, the jury is still out on the likes of Jordan Ayew, Jordan Veretout, and even Rudy Gestede (although his winner against Bournemouth has already put him in the good books of many fans.)

Points on the Board

Sherwood largely has his own squad now having culled many of Lambert’s buys, so Villa’s fortunes under him can now be scrutinised more closely. While his hand in last years great escape cannot be underestimated, Villa’s no show in the FA Cup final will take some time to forget. So how have this year’s matches gone? It doesn’t make for great reading.

Although few expected points against Man Utd, and games against Crystal Palace and in form Leicester were bound to be tough, looking at these games on paper along with the games against Bournemouth and Sunderland, it becomes clear that 4 point from a possible 15 is not good enough if we hope to remain well clear of the scrap at the bottom.

The team has certainly shown that they have more about them than most of the performances under Lambert. Flashes of serious talent and potential from Traore and Amavi have excited us and goals from fan favourites Grealish and Gil against Leicester were truly special. Unfortunately, these positive have been diluted by individual errors and lapses in concentration. Arguments that our many new players just need a bit of time to settle are fair, but also fail to take into account the dog eat dog nature of the league, and what it takes to survive.

 

Several of Villa’s direct rivals have made decent starts and if the Villans are to keep our distance from another bottom of the pile dogfight than they need to start getting points on the board now.

The opportunity to build more confidence and momentum against Birmingham in the Cup should be a welcome one, especially ahead of a difficult run that sees games against Liverpool, Stoke, Chelsea, Swansea, Spurs, and Man City (ouch).

Villa will need to learn to close out games when in favourable situations if we are to move up the table and the manner in which we failed to capitalise against Sunderland and Leicester must be addressed. Failing that, Sherwood is going to have to mastermind some serious scalpings of the league’s elite teams. Realistically we need to be securing more points against bottom half teams.

Click next page for Part Two of Tim Sherwood progress report and verdict

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Tim’s overconfidence in our passing ability is bordering on delusional, so you sit deep against liverpool and still expect the team to pass their way out from deep and not play counter-attacking football??

    The sort-of comeback against pool is the worst thing that can happen to us now, it’s masking tim’s tactical naivety…he’ll just think it’s all right, just need to tighten up defensively, but ironically, we conceded more by playing more defensive.

  2. I take issue with calling the latter part of last season as a great escape. When Sherwood took over we were level on points with QPR in 17th, and only 2 points off 15th. While Sherwood did a great job of freshening things up and instilling some confidence in the team, avoiding relegation was always very achievable, and as we’ve seen time and time again, the impact of a new manager invariably has a positive short-term effect.

  3. This article is bang-on. It saves me writing much here because it’s all said in the article! HOWEVER there is one issue which I can’t let go. Sanchez. We are so much better off without Sanchez; one of the most clueless footballers I’ve ever had to sit and watch week in-week out. I don’t understand why other Villa fans seem to like him?! It sickens me when his name is on the teamsheet, which is all the time at the moment. I don’t like singling-out players, but I’m 32, Villa through-and-through and I can’t think of a worse player to have pulled on claret & blue in my lifetime.

    Ps, how do you get to the forum on this site?!

    Dave

    • I think you’re being a bit harsh on Sanchez, although at the moment he does divide Villa fans. I don’t think him and Westwood are effective together, but Sanchez might be better off playing as an out-and-out DM with Veretout & Gana in front of him. As for a forum, we’ve never bothered with one, since Facebook & Twitter takes care of the discussion bit. There’s something new in the pipeline though to allow readers to really get involved. Stay tuned for that. UTV

  4. Tim is a victim of Learner’s leadership. The plan for the last 4 years has been sell your best players, replace them with many average players hoping one will be good enough to make some profit on, keep the dead wood on loads of undeserved money who wont move to another club. Yes he has managed to get rid of a few, but how many of the recent buys, who are all gambles, will be the dead wood no one wants at the end of the season. Did he get any help with his first venture into the transfer market? I presume he has been instructed to follow the path of his predecessors. It is a strategy that makes us 2nd favorites for relegation. The first being Sunderland who we could not beat at home! You cant see the next 6 fixtures gaining anything more than 4 or 5 points, giving us a return of 8 from 12 games!!! Can you then see us being able to lift ourselves for the next must win fixtures against our relegation rivals?

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