What We Learnt As Aston Villa Fans After Sherwood’s First Game as Villa Boss

By Adam Keeble

Not the dream start Villa fans or Tim Sherwood would have wanted, but what have fans learned as Aston Villa fans in the first full week of the Sherwood era?



The appointment of Kevin McDonald was universally seen as a good move by Sherwood (unlike the hiring of Sherwood in the first place which divided many fans). For all his passion and his saying the right things, he knows he needs to get up to speed with the club and its players – and who better than McDonald who’s a former caretaker manager and has been at Villa Park from 2003-2012.

Interesting to see with the game in the balance, Sherwood called McDonald out of the dug out and clearly asked him what he thought of the situation. McDonald might not be a name to entice the big names to join the club, but he knows the set-up at the club as well as anyone. And while the idea of an Ian Taylor, Shaun Teale or even a Martin Laursen coming in as an assistant might give the fans a boost, another novice alongside Sherwood would be the blind leading the blind.

It’s a smart, logical move and while you might not hear a lot from McDonald, he will have the manager’s ear and Sherwood will have his.




One of the quotes from Sherwood during the week would have caught the fan’s eye in particular. “They’ll all play in their correct positions – nobody playing out of position – and they’ll know their jobs” he said, meaning an end to the “go again” tactics used by Lambert of regularly playing strikers as wingers.

Further optimism would have come from the line-up, which could very easily of been a 4-4-2 but looked more like a 4-4-1-1 with Agbonlahor behind Benteke. But then Weimann came on for Gil, and Weimann stuck out on the touchline opposite Scott Sinclair in more like a 4-3-3… and Villa were never really in it after that.

And then there’s Richardson. While he did okay until his injury with some very incisive passing with Sinclair, he’s not a left-back and in most fans opinions (if Twitter is a fair indicator) wouldn’t be first choice in any position on the park. Maybe not even second choice in most. Richardson was signed because he’s been around the block, he wanted to play and was cheap as chips. Not because he was better than anyone else already in the squad.

Maybe it’s nit-picking but don’t say things like “nobody playing out of position” – and I’m well aware that Richardson has played left-back and Weimann has played enough as a wide-forward, maybe it’s not out of position for him anymore – but Weimann looks best in front of goal and Richardson looks best on the bench and anywhere else is not their best position.



Surely Paul Lambert was aware of how ridiculous his post-match comments sounded. The unconvincing “I thought we were excellent” after a dismal performance with two shots, one on target, and defensive lapses every which way. His favorite “we go again” was supposed to be reassuring  – that the team would keep plugging away doing the same old thing, then the new same old thing, both with little creativity and the latter inducing yawns and even worse results.

So for Sherwood to stand up after the game and say we were rubbish (in so many words) was a breath of fresh air. Even his walk down the tunnel, alone, and pissed off, was the walk of a fan – he lost a choker on his big debut and he wasn’t happy about it. He wasn’t going to tell the press how “unlucky” we were to concede a stupid penalty that late in the game, which cost us a point. He wasn’t going to try and kid the fans that the performance was something it wasn’t. His observations were largely that of the fans: we were good in the first half, lost our way, and probably deserved a draw.

That empathy will endear him to fans who have watched boring, sideways passing or frantic defending followed by attempts at smash and grabs for two-and-a-half years – and been told how excellent it was.




Whether Tim Sherwood keeps Villa up is still to be seen. The team’s new attacking style will need some tweaks: one shot, one goal in the first half is an improvement on two shots, no goals in entire games in some ways, but otherwise this wasn’t a performance to get too excited about.

Nor was it one that will get #SherwoodOut trending. Without putting his stamp on the team with new signings he has brought in, he’s left with the squad he has inherited. He has to get Benteke scoring. Just as importantly, he has to find his best eleven.

This was his first time dipping his toe in the water at Villa Park – when he’s ready to take the plunge, he can’t hide from the fact it has become his team. There are 12 more league games to go and we are 19th thanks to the board leaving it as long as they did to recognise improvements were not going to happen under Lambert’s regime.

Villa’s next opponents, Newcastle, will face Villa after taking a 0-5 hiding. Whether Sherwood can tap into that and land a huge win to get things rolling… well, that would be a start. UTV

Follow Adam on Twitter – @keebo00

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid


  1. Why does everyone think Delph’s the greatest No goals No assists last time he made a tackle he got sent off and unbeaten in last 6 of last 7 games he did not play FACT.And I’m getting slated on Facebook for these Facts., Sorry forgot the assist Saturday and for Liverpool and Arsenal , 3 goals in 7 years Said to replace Lampard and Gerrard in Engalnd team who have scored 150 goals between them in that time.
    Don’t get it myself.

  2. Another weekend ruined and Monday morning smugnesss from the Hate Villa brigade at work.
    I was more hopeful than expectant on Saturday as the new manager factor didn’t work for us and I have a increasing dread that the all planets are algining up against us.
    Collectivly we were not good enough as a team, but it was an uncharacteristic poor individual performance that eventually cost us a point (or 3)
    To be fair our defence has been has generally been good (with the exception of the Arse) and they are always under pressure to keep a clean sheet because we can’t score at the other end of the pitch.
    For my sins I’ve got a ticket to Newcastle next week and I hope that TS can grind something out up there not least to make the journey worth while, but I dread to think about the consequences of facing the Tesco Bags on the backend of another defeat!

  3. You only have to look at the numbers 4 2 4 and the weak spot is obvious. It was a brave experiment to get goals but the midfield needs to be a touch stronger than that.

  4. I understand your frustration, and that’s a good line up, but I don’t think the Sisco Kid’s done a lot wrong. Also feel that on the rare weekend that he’s fit, Joe Coles has the brains and ability to unlock defences.

  5. I think we can get out of this position. with TS in charge I can see us going on a 3 or 4 game unbeaten run. A couple of wins can get us up 2 or 3 places. We can do it. UTV!!!!

  6. Sorry folk but when will the Delph lovers realise that he is a liability ? Yes he plays with passion but he loses the ball far too often , putting the team effort at risk , even if he puts in effort to retake the ball . All too often the damage has been done by his losing of the ball either with the break down of a promising attack or undue pressure on our defense

  7. It was a 4-2-4 yesterday, very brave decision against a strong Stoke midfield which simply out played us. Sherwood needs to find a system that suits Villa’s best 11 players and that doesn’t include Vlaar, Sissoscko, Sanchez,Gabby or Vieman.
    I’d go as far as suggesting a 3-2-3-2 formation . Guzan ,
    Hutton Okore Clark
    Cleverley Westwood
    Bacuna Delph Gil
    Sinclair Benteke

  8. Unfortunately, I know we have been dire all season (including our start, when we were sitting pretty with very few goals scored). But yesterday’s result and performance has left me with the feelingfor the first time that we’re not going to get out of this mess. I would love to see some fight led by the Manager, K.Mac and the players, but realisation is that similar to 86-87 we’re heading out of the Premiership. I just hope Sherwood is some kind of magician that can pull 5 or 6 wins from this bunch of crap. And please don’t start me off on Vlaar, Marking Diuof then leaving him for Hutton to mark and wander off to mark no-one! What was that all about ? The challenge at the end beggars belief from a so called World Cup superstar.
    The future is the abyss of the Championship, with Sherwood hopefully doing a Graham Taylor and bouncing back first time with new players and a fresh approach. UTV.

    • Doubt we’d bounce straight back up. The fight needs to be made now with 12 games left. Easier to win that battle than trying to get out of the Championship. I had a feeling when we lost to Spurs at home last year, that we’d be in serious trouble this season, and so far it’s coming true.. Never felt we’d go down the last few seasons, but after Kane scored that deflected free-kick at Villa Park, I had a funny feeling.

      • Fair comment MOMS – but can you honestly see us winning those 5 or 6 games needed ? Hope has faded because of the players’ attitude. We face a precarious April – Spurs and the two Manc teams. Next 4 are critical. How many of those do you think we can win? I agree the fight needs to be made now, but I don’t think Sherwood has the time to change a) the player’s mentality and b) prise out any skills they have to express themselves on the pitch. This was evident on Saturday – shirking responsibilty on Stoke’s first and complete ineptitude with the second. We have become dependant on other teams’ results and Burnley, Leicester are picking up points at places we don’t. Sorry to be doom and gloom. But I think every Villain (and it’s my 50th anniversary as one this season!) is down this Monday morning. UTV.

  9. to me when gilwas replaced the midfield battle was lost,, we could not play the ball through, just crowded out resulting in us losing the ball in the center circle and allowing them to break
    we needed to stiffen midfield, gil could have moved forwards and bacuna could have slotted in next to
    sanchez,, that would at least allowed us to compete in midfield
    taking gil of removes the threat from corners and freekicks,, we had to rely on delph who never takes corners for us
    i am disapointed but we go again ,,,, and although we only scored once we looked more dangerous

    just have to stop the stupid mistakes

  10. Starting Sinclair & Gil is a luxury that requires that someone ie Weimann, Agbonlahor or Benteke drops out. I’d like to see Sinclair with Gabby in a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 with Delph and AN Other in the middle, and Bacuna and Gil on the flanks. You then have the option of bringing CB20 on and pushing Sinclair & Bacuna out in a 4-5-1. Grealish gives you another option to bring on here as well. Pray to Allah that none of these gets injured.

  11. I think, for the first time, I agree with you comments C.Gale.

    It was sad to see some Villa fans, gloating after the result, only because, Sherwood was not the manager they wanted at VP, they made it pretty obvious after his appointment was announced.

    I’ve been vocal in asking for Lambert to be replaced, not going to dwell on that, and was ecstatic when that came about. I’m not naive enough to think Sherwood is a miracle worker, and all will now be well, he’s got a job and a half on his hands, yesterday was proof of that.

    The players are still stuck in negative Lambert mode, it will take a while to kick that out of them, has the manager got that time? Yes, if the team change their ways rapido.

    I am behind him 100%, and hope others will see sense and do the same. UTV

    • Delph ,No goals No assists last time he made a tackle he got sent off and unbeaten in last 6 of last 7 games he did not play FACT.And I’m getting slated on Facebook for these Facts., Sorry forgot the assist Sat and for Liverpool and Arsenal ones , 3 goals in 7 years Said to replace Lampard and Gerrard in Engalnd team who have scored 150 goals between them in that time

  12. So what that we lost yesterday , After weeks of fans complaining they wanted a new manager did they really expect a miracle to happen and the team be converted into winners ?
    A match is won or lost depending on how well or badly BOTH teams perform , and even some of the commentators thought Villa were hard done by to lose .
    But never mind slating the team , the manager , and the tactics , how about looking at some of the good points .
    Sinclair scored for the 2nd consecutive match . Never mind how badly Benteke looked in front of goal the pressure is off and he’s starting to look more relaxed , but he does still need to start scoring , but with Sinclair who is not match fit after months sat on ManC’s bench , and Gil, who is still learning about the Prem ,around him goals will start coming hopefully sooner rather than later
    As for the rest of the team maybe it requires a little tinkering by the manager . But clearly the recent cup win has improved moral , which I was worried might be further reduced by the replacement of the manager they trusted . That clearly has not happened & the return of KMac will certainly help Sherwood on that score .
    What has not happened is fans demands for results & Sherwood has been given a very short honeymoon period and it would seem the doom & gloom merchants are back out in force , claiming the team is not good enough .
    Last weekend I started to lose faith in the team, & after Sherwood’s appointment some on twitter queried why I would not comment until after yesterdays match . Well yesterdays result was not good enough , even though morale looked better so now Sherwood has to lift the team again & get the result we need as the team is good enough IF they can concentrate for 90+ minutes

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