Five Reasons to be Cheerful as Villa Fans After Potters Loss

Aston Villa are in big trouble with a quarter of a season already done and dusted. They have a manager still tinkering around as if it is pre season and a board that needs to use the new Grand Central Station in Birmingham to get out of town asap.

Standing watch Villa struggle against an average Stoke City side, two things sprang to mind – a) Villa were never going to win the game and b) it felt a little like watching the Villa team of 1986/87 all over again, when relegation finally put Villa out of their suffering.

Still, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans…

1. Le Potential

I thought against Stoke City, Jordan Veretout showed the first signs he could come good. The surging run into the Stoke box being the highlight. The French man needs to impose himself on the game a little more though. At times he seems a little shy on the pitch, taking the simple pass sideways rather than trying to make something happen. We don’t need an Ashley Westwood mk II, so hopefully he’ll continue to increase in confident.

MOMS had considered Vertout could be potentially the best signing of the summer , but he’s got a long way to reach that status at the moment.


2. International Break

Sherwood talked about the international break being a mini preseason and it’s one he needs to make count. In my book the actual preseason was something of a mess. Unfortunate in some respects due to injuries to Grealish, Gil and Okore, but a bit of a shambles when you consider all the late additions to the squad, who had no time to get to know their new team or get their fitness up.

Hopefully, the likes of Jores Okore, Adama Traore and Gabby Agbonlahor will come back fully fit after the break to give Sherwood a full deck to play with against Chelsea.

3. Final Defensive Solution

There are answers to at least some of Villa’s problems, but will Sherwood talk them? Villa have the personnel for a decent back four, but it means Richards moving to right-back. He was again caught out for the goal when Stoke could have driven two buses through the gap that appeared between Ricards and Crespo at the back.

Richards best work seemed to be when he was in the opponent’s half, which is somewhere he’d be granted more freedom to be if he’s right-back.

Okore and Clark proved to be Villa’s best centre-back pairing last season and with Richards and Amavi flanking them, it would would be the best back four Villa have had in years.

So come on Sherwood, lets have: Richards, Okore, Clark and Amavi. It’s the strongest back four, has plenty of pace, and to me, considering the sh*t that Villa are in, is a no-brainer.

4. Twenty’s Plenty

The Football Supporters Federation’s national campaign for £20 away tickets went well at Villa Park. First Villa fans teamed up with Stoke fans for a display of banners on the Holte End outside terrace. Then the Villa banner was taken to the North Stand where it was paraded in front of the North Stand shortly before kick-off. Thanks to all that got involved, especially the AVST and the lads in the North Stand.



5. It’s Grim up North

Villa fans got stick from some pundits and various members of the press when they voiced their disapproval when Randy Lerner was thinking about Steve McClaren to be Villa boss after Gerrard Houllier, and ever since their judgement is being proven right (as it was in not wanting Alex McLeish). McClaren has failed in all his English managerial posts since then, and luckily for Villa he seems to be making a pig’s ear of his latest job at Newcastle.

Meanwhile, the fact that Dick Advocaat has left Sunderland, also leaves the Mackems in despair. It also means that they are first in the queue to gain the services of Sam Allardyce.

Some Villa fans have suggested Villa should get rid of Sherwood and bring Big Sam in asap. I ask those fans this…why do you think Newcastle and West Ham fans both chased him out of their respective clubs, even though he brought them relative security?

If Randy Lerner and his cronies appointed Big Sam in the hope of short-term safety, with his brand of non-football, there would be nothing left about this club that made me support them as a kid, bar the name and the colours.


Follow MOMS on Twitter – oldmansaid



  1. I appreciate the well thought through comments posted above, but….all I have to say is ‘Sherwood Out’ , probably. He needs to pull it round by the end of this month. I don’t want the institution that is Aston Villa FC to be playing Rotheram next season, at the moment he shows no sign of having the ability to select teams, or ability to change them mid-game, which is real shame as I really like his attitude. The problem is not the players, its the manager, and his lack of ability to create a workable cohesive team 🙁

    • Sherwood’s decision making from the team he selects to his substitutions are worrying. Enough has been said about his substitutions, the worst example being the Leicester City game. However, I suspect because he’s not winning games, he’s starting to lose his nerve with selecting attack minded creative players, He left out both Grealish and Gil for the Stoke game. He brought them on in the second half and we looked better.

      His dilemma will be that the likes of Gil and Grealish, aren’t ball winners. It’s true, they’re lightweight on defensive duties. You only need to look at them to see why. However, we were playing Stoke on our own ground, and how many defence minded players do we need?

      The defence doesn’t play as a unit. You can see a goal coming, and just can’t understand why defenders can’t see the threat. Against us, teams double up on our pacey players. You see it time and time again with Grealish , Trour, Sinclaire, Gabby. Teams know they’re quick so they double mark, it’s not genius. That being said, we rarely use that tactic. Sanchez and Guy will have to work harder here.

      I hope Sherwood keeps his nerve, especially for home games. To my mind the answer’s often sat on the bench, and shouldn’t be a last minute alternative when are losing and need to rescue the game.

  2. Richards needs to stay at CB. He is playing well by all accounts. Best performer again on Sat. He just needs a partner who can put in the same kind of performances. He is a better CB than RB from what I can see.

  3. I disagree with the comments about getting Richards out to right wing back. I also feel that Hutton’s doing a good job. He tanks up and down the right wing and gets in good crosses. Half the time only Gested is in the box surrounded by opposition defenders. That’s not Hutton’s fault.

    Richards size and muscularity is what a centre half’s all about. Having said that, Okore and Clarke have done little wrong in my book.

    I agree with comments made about the mid field. It’s too easy for the opposition to run through midfield and on to an overworked defence. The midfield needs to be creative in moving forward, but also stop attacks building up so frequently. Sherwood has a problem here. We have great creative players, Grealish and Gil are world class. However, they are not ball winners in the Ian Taylor mode. Taylor had both aspects to his game, these guys don’t. So Sherwood looks at the opposition and makes a clear decision, do I need ball winners in midfield for this game, in addition to Sanchez and Guy (I’ve forgotten what Westwood does outside simple passes)? If he needs a dig deep midfield, he won’t play Gil and Grealish until later in the game. Very logical. That means until Gil and Grealish are brought on, we are light on attacking ideas, Gested starts to drop back, then there’s no one up front.

    Sanchez and Guy play a good game, but their distribution as they become overworked, isn’t perfect.

    Westwood works hard and sometimes the simple pass is needed (something Traour needs to note!). However in Jan I’d bring in a ball winning midfield player to run alongside Guy and Sanchez . A player like an Ian Taylor or dare I say a Bryan Robson, Greame Souness kind of player that stamps their authority on the game. Let’s end the hot knife through butter syndrome, and make the defensive mid field a little more water tight. Just one tough experienced professional, to add that extra bit of steel. The effect will rub off on others!

    rad -————————
    Bacuna – Richards – Clark -— Amavi
    -———- Gana -——— Sanchez -——
    Traore -———— Jack -————- Ayew
    -——————— Gestede -—————Robson that will st

    • Richards at right-back not wing-back. He’d provide a stronger defence presence (more so than Bacuna or Hutton) and allow Traore more freedom to concentrate on bombing on. The others haven’t worked at right-back and time is a ticking on the relegation clock. Also Richards at centre-back has been responsible for several cheap goals. At least five now, including preseason.

      • I don’t think hutton has done much wrong. Can’t see richards crossing any better than hutton, while he might be a upgrade defensively on hutton, the full back positions will never work if we never play wide with our wide midfielders staying wide to offer protection to fullbacks.(didn’t even play with one against stoke)

        Former villain mike pejic called it spot on in his recent column for stoke sentinel, the only one who can see villa’s defensive probs down the flanks is because we never play with wingers who stay wide and not drift inside or have a free roaming role. Everyone else just misses the point if they keep thinking personnel is the answer to all the probs

        • After losing so many games, Sherwood’s probably losing his nerve on attacking formations. We’ll see him set up to not get beat, like he tried against Stoke. He brought Grealish and Gil on in the second half and we looked better. Too little to late. The more scared of losing he gets, the more his teams will start to look like a Lambert team. He needs to hold his nerve, and have the confidence to play his creative players. Sadly, our creative players aren’t ball winners, and we seem short of an aggressive, combative ball winning midfielder. We’ve got enough full backs, we’ve got enough forwards, but there’s a void between the defense and the attack. Almost any team we play seems to be able to pile it on for long periods of the game and from Sanchez and Ghana to the defense, we look disorganized, like we don’t train mid-week. When Liverpool were faced with Traore, they doubled up, when Stoke were faced with Sinclaire they crowed him out. We seem unable to do this to opposing forwards. You can see goals arriving by 2nd class post, the build ups so obvious.

          Still, I hope Sherwood keeps his nerve with his team selections, and starts to use common sense with his substitutions.

  4. Be nice to see what gardner could offer in midfeld.At least we might see some long range efforts going in.Also get someone to take corners and free kicks that can actually KICK ACCURATELY,NOT westwood.Its a joke how much we waste when you realise that we have a deadly header in our team.

  5. Villa fans have gotten too good at panicking over the last five years – I’m nearly as sick of ‘(insert name here) Out!’ banners as I am of losing games. Sherwood brought in eleven new players – most of whom have never played in the premier league before – anyone who expected anything other than what we have seen so far is delusional. A team takes time to build otherwise anyone could do it.

    This team are losing – but they are losing by a single goal – often to a deflection or idiotic piece of defending – what I’m saying here is … we are poor – we we aren’t awful – we aren’t getting thumped for five and six.

    Given some time I think this squad can gel and find a pattern of play that will allow them to flow – and begin to win games. You can see them having to think at the moment – having to look to see where to pass – as they get to know each other they should begin to pass and cross without that hesitation – and when they do it will work – as Amavi to Gestede vs Blues showed – instinctive first time cross results in instinctive clinical finish.

    Ayew looked awful at first – he is starting to look better. Veretout looked like a baby rabbit – but he too is starting come into his game. Gana is a fine player and will only get better.

    Good teams are built from the back and that is where we are being undone. We are weak (and Lescott has not improved that) particularly in DCM, RB, and GK.

    Richards to RB strikes me as a winner, as Hutton is a waste of an attacking ball for all his running. Westwood is too lightweight for me as a defensive midfielders even though he works his socks off. And Guzan? Great stopper, awful footballer with little insight into what will happen next.

    Get that defence sorted out and add a real footballing striker like Afobe and we will be fine – better yet we will improve again the season after.

    It is too early to panic – the manager and the team need our support and our loyal patience. We can’t blame Lerner, we can’t blame Sherwood, and we shouldn’t blame the new players. They will be working hard to gel – to get that instinctive passing and movement that comes from familiarity, and when they do I think they will be some team.


    • You have to ask yourself if bringing in 11 players without Premier League experience was a good idea in the first place? Like Lambert’s ‘young, cheap & hungry’ policy, it comes with the in-built excuse ‘well, lets just survive this season, so they can get some experience’. It’s an excuse for lowering supporter ambition.

      We have the same owner and for the last five seasons now have flirted with relegation, instead of building with any overall vision, regardless of who the manager is.

  6. To your question – jerdies and cockernees chased out BFS because they thought they should be in European contention when they were 10-12th and could step up simply by playing “nicer” football – financially delusional, in other words. Nobody (including BFS himself probably) would expect him to be here for eternity. Just to get us safe and maybe keep us safe whilst we wait for the heavenly transaction to finally occur. We are but four games away from disaster right now ie 12 games 4 pts.

  7. its easy to call for sherwoods head and to be honest i do think he is a big part of the problem,,,

    richards will come good ,,, but it takes time for players to become at one with the team

    i think the defence you mentioned should be at least tried , richards could even play in midfield

    in front of the defence,,,, but as a full back can he cross,,,,

    to me the problems are midfield creativity and the forwards lack of everything

    vertout could well be the answer but we need a top class forward,, get rid of the dead wood and spend

    some cash ,,,, gabby is crap,,, kozac unwanted,,, ayew and geteste not ready and learning

    players can come good,, look at vardy,, who would have thought he could improve,,,

    something is lacking, lets hope sherwood can sort it

  8. I think you will find most of our play from midfield will be side ways for a while ,,after all we have the king of “crab football” on the coaching staff,, Mr Ray Wilkins

Comments are closed.