James Milner Says Sherwood Gave Villa a Kick up the Backside

Manchester City v Aston Villa 2015

Many nice things have been written about Villa following their excellent victory of Liverpool last weekend, but Sherwood has quite rightly emphasised Villa’s precarious league position. A couple more wins should keep Villa in the division, but with Man City fighting to save their disappointing season, the Etihad will be, as ever, be a difficult place to take points from. Can Villa carry on the feel-good factor with a point or three in Manchester?

Villa have lost their last five league games at the Etihad

Sherwood on Man City

“We certainly have the belief we can go to Man City and get something. There’s an expectancy among our supporters now. We felt that at Wembley.

“They felt we could go there and get something and we did – and we deserved to. We have a lot of confidence from that.



I am telling the boys not to be scared and get on the football in tough areas of the field – receive the ball and play. It’s 11 v 11. We will have to play exceptionally well. If we do, I think we can get something there.”

Milner on Villa

“I’m not surprised Villa are climbing the table because I don’t think they should have been down there anyway.

“It’s true that it doesn’t matter how big a club is because anyone can go down – look at Leeds United – but it’s pleasing to see them recover from where they were because they’re a good club, I had a lot of good times there and I still know a lot of people at Villa.

“I think Tim Sherwood was ideal to bring in and deal with what was a crisis situation because he’s lifted them, given them a kick up the backside and given their players belief again so he was the perfect appointment in many ways.”

Memory Match

7th May 2014 Man City 4 Aston Villa 0

After a decent first half Villa were blown away by the eventual champions thanks to goals from Dzeko, Jovetic and Toure.

Man City – Last five matches at home: W 4, D 1

Villa – Last five matches away: W 2, `L 3

Villa have lost their last five league visits to the Etihad

One to Watch

Yaya Toure – The midfielder has scored in his last three league appearances against Villa



Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Why is it that teams always seem to have bizarrely specific records against us? City have won more league games (20) and scored more goals (65) against Villa than any other team, and even though they have struggled on the road recently their home form is intimidating.

As well as the fact that Man City have won 8 of their last 9 home games against Villa in all competitions, recent form shows that City have kept clean sheets in their last four league games. Add to that that in those four matches City were winning at half time and it does start to look like a difficult task for Sherwood’s squad.

While Villa will miss Sinclair for this time, his parent club welcome back Nasri and Bony.

“[Tim Sherwood] has given them a kick up the backside and given their players belief again” – Milner on Villa

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

If Villa are to get anything from the Etihad, a similar mind-set demonstrated against Liverpool will have to be shown. There was a refreshing no fear approach in the semi-final. We created chances throughout the match, and got the balance between attack and defence spot on.

If only second halves counted, Villa would be bottom of the table, and they’ve only scored six second-half goals all season. While it’s a slightly unusual stat that perhaps reflects the Lambert era more than recent times, it does show that we sometimes struggle to maintain the same level of performance over 90 minutes. Hopefully we show the same controlled approach to the game that we saw at Wembley, one that, like on Sunday, frustrates an opposition side who think winning will be a formality.

Villa have scored the same number of league goals under Sherwood (12 in eight) as they did under Lambert (12 in 25).

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

After one of the best team performances in years, confidence is bound to be high. Throw into the mix that Cissokho and Senderos are back in the squad to bolster the injury-riddled defence and there’s reason to believe that the relegation battle should be a formality.

It seems difficult to pinpoint quite why City have struggled. Perhaps their squad needs a shake-up? Intriguingly, their average age is the oldest in the Premier League.

City could be without Kompany and Clichy which is bound to be a concern for Pellegrini as he faces a Villa side who increasingly look like they can give any team a good game.

Liverpool resorted to long balls up the field at Wembley but you’d imagine that City will be more inventive with their attacking play.

Sherwood knows the importance of the league and, to his credit, has not got too carried away with the FA Cup win. If Villa are to distance themselves from the relegation zone, points when we don’t expect them (see White Hart Lane!) will be hugely useful. A win against City at the Etihad will make everyone feel better about Premier League survival, and also show Arsenal that they have plenty to worry about at the end of next month.


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