Compared to last season’s results in the corresponding games played so far this season, Villa are 10 points down
“We’ll turn it around. I’m 100% sure we’ll stay in the Premier League this season,” claimed Tim Sherwood, before the 2-0 loss at Chelsea, the first of five tough fixtures that Villa face to redress their troublesome league position.
Has anybody cared to ask the Villa boss, why actually he is confident of that? It’s a tough task to even begin to tackle when you look at the upcoming games.
In the same games last season, against Chelsea (a), Swansea (h), Spurs (a), Man City (h), Everton (a), Villa only scored one goal and gained three points, the result of their 1-0 win away at Spurs. It’s a worrying statistic.
For Villa to begin to redress the increasingly worrying spectre of relegation they perhaps will need two positive results from the next four games. It’s not a forlorn prospect though, a couple of seasons ago Paul Lambert’s record against the top four saved the team from relegation, so Sherwood must follow his predecessors’ lead.
I say ‘must’, because compared to last season’s results in the corresponding games played so far this season, Villa are 10 points down and most of those lost points have been against average teams.
The threat of relegation is VERY REAL with such a tally to make up.
“Oh, it’s only early days” and “it takes time to gel a team and for players to get used to the Premier League” are two sentiments heard to counter Aston Villa’s poor start to the season. Consider this though…
Almost a quarter of the season has gone and Villa are on just FOUR points after nine games; teams normally get relegated from such starts. Also, why buy so many players with no Premier League experience, when in this season more than most, it is essential for teams to stay in the league to be privy to the increased TV financial windfall of next season?
The Moneyball approach is ok in theory, but in football the factor of Premier League experience, which Moneyball fails to really address in, is a vital ingredient. Villa have brought in little legitimate Premier League experience in the key areas of midfield and attack. They needed a mix to make them ready to go from the off. You don’t go into a season thinking ‘well, the results don’t matter in the first nine games, because we’re finding our feet’.
The quotes from Sherwood referring to the four league points that Villa have so far as ‘to be expected’, are quite frankly nonsense. If as a manager you were half-expecting to have four points out of a total of 27, then that’s not the plan you should be following. Full stop.
As for being a ‘team in transition’, which Sherwood has described Villa on more than one occasion, this club has been in perpetual transition since Gerard Houllier came in as manager. When will it end? As Villa supporters we have been fed the ‘transition’ pill as a placebo, season after season.
In any team rebuilding, you built a team to be competitive from the start, while they ultimately find their feet and full potential. That is how you run any sports team. Villa have already tried the drastic approach of untried young and hungry talent under Lambert, but where did that get them? Why did they not learn?
The Villa board are being risky in the extremity of their transfer approach, not to mention the appointment of an inexperienced manager, who certainly was worth a gamble in the short-term to shake the Paul Lambert coma, but had long-term question marks over his head.
The Aston Villa Supporters Trust statement calling for a clarity of direction in terms of back or sack the manager was fair one, considering all the press hullaballoo in recent weeks.
To make up 10 points just to reach a paltry total of 38 points last season, will be tough and still does not guarantee safety. Sherwood will need the club’s full support, if the board believes he is the man to do it. If not, the more chance a new manager has of rescuing the situation the better.
In the interim, it would be good to hear if Randy Lerner will be appointing a chairman to take over as was suggested as a course of action, if he failed to sell the club. At the moment, you get the sense Tom Fox is very much running the show, but while he maybe updating the business side of the club’s operation, the football side may regress all the way back to the Championship and that would ruin everything.
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