I’ve said elsewhere that this game was over as soon as that starting line-up was picked. Sherwood was running scared from the off with a formation that showed Liverpool too much respect and isolated Rudy Gestede up front until caution was thrown to the wind after going 2-0 down.
Villa managed to score two to keep up their fine recent scoring record at Anfield, but defensive lapses let down any chance of a point.
Here’s an attempt to derive five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans…
1 Bullet Man
Well, some thought a Rudy Gestede song celebrating a striker with one Villa goal to his name was a little premature, but certainly the striker has put his head down and worked hard to answer any early doubters with three goals in two games this week.
MOMS likes a bullet header and Gestede seems to be pretty darn good at them. Jordan Amavi seems to be his main supplier at the moment. If Villa can up his supply and get more deliveries in from the right flank too, he should be on his way to double figures. Since August 2013, Gestede has scored 21 headed league goals, six more than any other player in the English top four tiers.
2. Bubble Burst
We’re not under any false pretences anymore, dropping into the bottom three at this stage should get the alarm bells ringing around Villa Park early. It’s a small positive, but it should see the players give a little extra.
Several days have passed since Villa beat the Blues in the League Cup and the silence from Small Heath is at least some respite from the recent sufferings we’ve had to endure.
An away trip to Southampton in the next round gives us a chance to play with the pressure off too and give some players an extra game to get up to speed. A win there and we can start to think about a proper cup run that will hopefully lift both the team and supporters again, like last season.
As MOMS wrote about in the week Aston Villa injury situation is clearing up for the better. Jores Okore returning to training is certainly a big plus, as I’m unconvinced by the current backline. Okore’s return would give Sherwood the option of trying Richards at right-back (whether the Villa captain likes it or not!).
Gary Gardner also returns to training on Monday. First of all, lets hope he doesn’t pick up yet another injury before the end of the season, and secondly, lets hope he can make a real impression on the squad. For starters, his deadball skills will be very welcome, as Ashley Westwood has already wasted too many Villa set pieces this season.
5. Supporter Solidarity
Next week will see supporters from all Premier League clubs (and also a bunch from Championship teams) make a statement about ticket prices at all the matches at Premier League grounds. The central issue will be the Football Supporters Federation’s Twenty’s Plenty campaign to make all away tickets £20. If you want to help out at Villa Park vs Stoke City, drop MOMS an email on email@example.com or DM us on social media.
The clubs can easily afford to do this (read about their unexpected money to do it here and Swansea City have set an example making all their away tickets £22, so lets see some action from Premier League clubs on this.
It’s good to see supporters from all clubs coming together to exert their influence as one big ‘consumer group’.
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