Aston Villa v West Brom 2015
If the draw at home to Sunderland was disappointing, last Sunday’s away trip to Leicester was devastating.
The defensive problems that have plagued Villa in the past reared their ugly head against Leicester and the mad 20 minutes at the end were a real shock to the system.
The second of three derbies is next, and Tony Pulis’s hard to beat West Brom side are in town.
We usually do well against the Baggies at Villa Park. Can we get our first home league win of the season?
West brom have lost just one of their last six league games
Sherwood on West Brom
“They are very organised under Tony Pulis and hard to beat. They get a lot of people behind the ball.
“We know we are going to dominate the game and it’s if we take our chances and don’t let sloppy goals in. That’s the idea. If we execute that, we will come away with the win.
“We want to be on the front foot, dominate possession and stay in the game and try and score more than the opposition. That is what we look to do and that’s what we’ve pretty much done since the start of the season.”
Sherwood on derby days
“They’re big occasions. I laugh when I hear managers say it’s just another game. It’s not.
“It means an awful lot to the fans and to the players.
“We love the derby atmospheres and they’re great occasions – but only if you win!”
Pulis on derby days
“Derby matches are fantastic games to be involved in and wonderful occasions.
“The disappointing thing last year was the crowd trouble and I hope and pray both sets of supporters go there tomorrow and really respect football. That’s what it’s really about, two teams going head-to-head and giving it everything.”
3rd March 2015 Aston Villa 2 West Brom 1
A last minute penalty from Benteke secured Tim Sherwood’s first Villa win.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2
West Brom – Last five matches away: W 2, D 2, L 1
Villa have only lost once to West Brom during the last five home encounters
One to Watch
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Tony Pulis’ teams are usually very well organised, and this West Brom side are no different. They’ve lost just one of their last six league games, winning three of them and keeping four clean sheets in the process.
We always knew Sherwood was going to favour an attacking approach but in contrast to the Baggies, Villa have been conceding daft goals.
Worth remembering then, that if the surname wasn’t enough to strike fear into the hearts of Villa fans, Rickie Lambert has scored four goals in six league appearances against the Villa.
Mean while, we’ve won just one of our last seven league matches and things are starting to look a bit bleak. A win against the Baggies would be the perfect preparation for the visit of the not-so noisy neighbours on Tuesday, but it won’t be easy.
“I hope and pray both sets of supporters go there tomorrow and really respect football – pulis ON saturday’s game
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
While dwarfed by the tradition of Tuesday’s match, Villa v Baggies is still a derby and there’s always the risk that the occasion will get to the players.
Mainly though, a good solid performance would be nice. Of course that goes without saying, but Villa Park is hardly the fortress Sherwood hoped for. Particularly in this fixture, both sides have scored in all but one of the last nine meetings at Villa Park.
The atmosphere was superb in the two home matches against West Brom last season so more of that would be welcome – as well as a good performance (and a goal) from Lescott against his old club!
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
It’s a common belief amongst Villa fans that Agbonlahor ups his game for derby matches, and to be fair he put in a solid performance against the Foxes last weekend with an assist too. In fact, he’s scored more goals (four) in this league fixture than other any player!
Sherwood managed two wins against the Baggies in the space of a week last season and while admittedly survival was on the line in the league game last March, our general form is good against West Brom.
As well as winning two of the last three league games against West Brom we’ve lost just one of seven against them – not bad considering the relegation battles of recent seasons.
A Midlands-centric stat tells us that only Coventry and Wolves have recorded fewer points per game on average (1.02 and 0.96) in league Midlands derbies than the Baggies (1.11). Villa rank highest with 1.63 per derby match.
While Villa lacked much of an attacking spark early on, West Brom have the lowest shooting accuracy in the league this season, with just 34% of their efforts hitting the target.
Despite some of the criticism Sherwood has received you get the sense that he’s the right man to motivate the team in these upcoming local affairs.
Hopefully we can prepare for Tuesday’s match perfectly with all three points for the first time at Villa Park this season.
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