A fifth straight defeat, 19th place, four points adrift and a high profile Villa fan loses his job for doing his job. What did Aston Villa fans learn from a pretty miserable week?
It’s getting tired saying how Villa did well for parts of the game, followed by a “but”. But here we go again – there were bright spots during the game, but one shot on target, a defensive error for the first goal and a freak deflection for the second in the two-nil defeat to Chelsea was enough to leave Villa goalless and beaten.
Fans will be hoping it’s the tactics, not the quality of players that are keeping Villa down. Because there’s only so many more rolls of the dice Sherwood can try with the current squad before counting the weeks until January when he has to decide whether the players he has will be good enough once he finds a workable system that will get results or whether he goes to Randy, cap in hand, for a few more quid to spend… that is…
… if he still has a job by then.
Villa fans will note that Sherwood is blaming the players for the mess the club is in. In saying the performances were “boring” he added: “People going square, sideways… I’m not telling them to do that. I’m telling them to express themselves.”
“If anyone should be scared to lose then it should be me, but I’m not” he added. That’s a great attitude… if it leads to wins. But it hasn’t, it isn’t and given that he still doesn’t have a best XI in mind (apparently Richardson might be a part of that. What’s next? Asking Gordon Cowans if he’s up for 45 minutes?) it won’t.
He can be bullish all he wants. But if he’s still blaming the players for not doing what he’s telling them to do after five more defeats, fans will be asking if he can’t motivate the team, can’t pick his best team and can’t have them do what he wants, what exactly is he doing?
Apparently Kieran Richardson IS potentially part of the elusive best XI that Kieran Richardson has pushed himself in contention for, but several notable players are not.
Joe Cole leads that list. After being showered with praise when Sherwood got the job (“He can score and he can assist. He’s not broken by any means… I still think he has a part to play”) he was allowed to leave on loan to Coventry City and it doesn’t sound like he’s coming back.
Libor Kozak hasn’t made the bench for a league game since the 2-2 against Sunderland, but couldn’t get off it even then thanks to Sherwood’s preference for the lone big man striker position held by Gestede.
And the long-awaited reappearance of Gary Gardner is.. well, we’re still waiting. Hard to see even if he was fit for the weekend who would give up his place – Westwood could be seen as the very epitome of the square and sideways passing Sherwood has been critical of but still starts ahead of Carlos Sanchez, Leandro Bacuna and until recently, Carles Gil. Frankly, if Veretout can’t impose much influence on a game, pinning our hopes on constantly injured Gardner might be a stretch.
Looks like the current match-day squad is where Sherwood will be drawing his best team from.
Stan Collymore was axed from writing his column for the matchday programme – something he did for free – because, it seems, he criticised the club’s ownership. According to Stan, he had offered to do anything he could to help the club, but was fobbed off.
Can you blame one of the biggest, high-profile fans of one of the biggest, oldest clubs in English football history for being upset with the farce the club has become after its sixth successive year of flirting with the bottom three?
Love him or hate him, Collymore’s passion for Aston Villa cannot be doubted. And his reward is to be told that speaking as a fan, not a mouthpiece for a club that can’t stop underachieving, is to be told his services aren’t needed any more. He just said what we were all thinking, when we aren’t bored watching Villa lose games. Ask Sherwood about that part.
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