Taken from the Guardian

Sherwood facing derby double

The first of two consecutive derbies for Aston Villa, for whom Birmingham City are next up in the Capital One Cup next week. “We’ve got the two biggest matches this club is ever going to have ahead of us,” Tim Sherwood has said, but while Villa fans could be forgiven for hoping slightly grander, more prestigious occasions lie in their club’s mid- to long-term future, the importance of these games in relation to how their manager is perceived by fans in the short-term cannot be overstated. Back to back defeats could leave a dent on his reputation that even the most accomplished local panel-beaters might struggle to repair.

After the almighty dog’s breakfast Villa made of their attempt to close out the win against Leicester City when two goals up last weekend, back to back wins against local rivals West Brom and City would buy Sherwood some much needed breathing space after an inauspicious start to the season in which his team has kept just one clean sheet and leaked two or more goals in each of their past four matches. It will be interesting to see whether or not he attempts to rectify this porousness by adopting a safety-first approach that one suspects goes against everything he stands for as a manager.

More experienced, under far less pressure and with a more defensively stout team at his disposal, visiting manager Tony Pulis can afford to let his team sit back and hit Villa on the break and may task Saido Berahino with plugging away up front from the start. The young striker won’t be the only player looking for redemption, during his unhappy time at Manchester City, Scott Sinclair endured an even more miserable loan spell at The Hawthorns and in the colours of their local rivals, the in-form winger may feel he has a point to prove. BG

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Viewed in the cold light of day the Leicester result wasn't that bad, in the sense we almost pulled off an away victory against the form team of the moment. The last 20 minute collapse was disappointing, and rightly worrying; we shouldn't be doing that. It's the one serious blip we've had this season. The critical thing is whether or not it affects our confidence. Hope not; it shouldn't against Baggies because, whatever the Pulis factor, they are not doing well at the moment.

Comparing the two teams, we've scored in 4 of the 5 matches so far (what a change from last season), they've only scored in 2, one against a 9 man Stoke. We've scored 6 goals (11 if you include the Cup); they've scored 3 goals (and none in the Cup). We've conceded 8 goals (11 if you include the Cup); they've conceded 6 goals (and none in the Cup). All in all, they've been generally below average, we've had one poor result but otherwise generally been OK.

If we don't mess things up (again), we can win this. Come on, we WILL win it.

I agree. We've had one poor result, 2-2 with Sunderland, where we did more than enough to win and should have won. Palace and Leicester are absolutely on fire yet we played well enough and deserved to get four points from those two away games. At the moment, that would have been a phenominal return.

Yet, as well as we are playing, we really need to turn performances into points. I'm worried that the Baggies will be really fired up by their double defeat in March. This match means more to them than any other (don't be fooled by the Wolves hype) and they will be very, very hard to beat tomorrow. I'd be so much more confident if Gil and Gana are fit to play but I can't see Tim taking too many risks with fitness. I hope at least Gil can play, as he rated as only 'slightly doubtful' apparently.

I think the proximity of the Blues game will affect both the attendance and the atmosphere tomorrow. I really hope not, as this derby is only just beginning to get the recognition it should. They are our ancient enemy from four miles down the road, rather than the more plastic-feeling, media-fuelled and school yard type rivally with Blues.


Team is in. Only one change. Hutton in for Bacuna. 


Hutton Richards Lescott Amavi

Westood Sanchez

    Gil          Sinclair     Grealish


so Gabby starts again. Happy for him :-) though in reality, he does need a goal to quieten down the critics, and yes, there has been a few. Though to be fair, a couple of assists would do just fine for me. For the stats and all :-)

Am surprised that Lescott remains. Thought he looked a weak leak at times in the last game. Perhaps he will get better. 

Certainly some forward skill. Hope the defence remember what their job is. Gana not on the bench so presumably still injured.

Yeah, we will see. Our defence has been woeful for a while now under Sherwood, and it is really starting to worry me. His defence was woeful at Tottenham for a good while as well, and ultimately probably contributed to him losing his job there.

Ok, so its quite a new back four for us, but i really would like to see things tightened up.

At this stage, if you offered me a 0-0 with West Brom and a 1-0 against Birmingham, i would take it!

Today's game heart says win head says draw.

My best news today is i am in Calella on my hols just been up to Malgrat on the train and bumped into two Blue's Fan's lost without a clue where to buy one from. They asked me as i spoke English i recognised the team shirt and refused to help until they said we will thrash them in the cup and Villa will always be superior to them.

Excellent banter all good humoured but i helped them in the end.


we are so crap. What the hell was Lescott doing on the goal line for the goal? Seriously, what was he doing? He might of even played Berahino onside. What the hell. 

we are now in the relegation zone as it stands. Sherwood said we would not be anywhere near a relegation fight. What is this about?

If Bournemouth and stoke win we will fall into the bottom 3.........

Not impressed. Not with the team. Nor with the STUPID ref who disallows a goal for us because one of OUR players is fouled.

Was worried by the lineup. Midfield too lightweight. Baggies not only have a decent defence; they have a decent midfield. With Gana out I'd have played 3-5-2.

We need Clark back for blues; he and Richards are a decent partnership, and for all Lescott's experience I think he's now too slow, unless he's part of a back three. Gestede seems totally out of his depth; we have to use Kozak instead.

We're still out of the relegation zone - just!!! I'd love us to get something against L'pool but it's going to take a massive improvement. We were good first half against Leicester and we need to do that every time.

Well Mr Sherwood, last week you said you had never felt so low, well welcome to our world. I can assure you that we are more fed up with it than you can imagine.

Last week we had a complete defensive meltdown and lost a two goal lead. Your solution drop Bacuna and bring on Hutton FFS, keeping everyone else in place.

I suppose the excusists will make the case of how unlucky we have been again and how we miss the injured players but we have more players than ever, since O'Neills time.

Not good enough by a country mile.

We are in for a relegation battle. Simple as. We were so bad in that game, so so bad.

Gestede is so far from being a Premier League player, it's actually not funny.

How Kozak (a former Europa league top scorer) can't even get on as a sub is mind boggling.

Sherwood has to be accountable. His Plan B was to bring on Gestede and try and get ball in the box. But we had zero width, like absolute zero. It took us until the 70th minute to win a corner, ffs. 

Sherwood has to be accountable for this display, it lacked any coherent gameplan whatsoever, and when he actually tried to implement a plan, he failed miserably.

Tactics Tim is being found out, and we have to realise it.

He talks an awful good game, but is not delivering. It is just not good enough, in my opinion.

He bought 15millions worth of attacking talent in Ayew and Gestede, and neither of them are anywhere near premier league standard. Could he not have just gone and spent the money on Autstin? Surely!

The only saving grace is that we might have a decent three in Gil, Grealish and Troare, but we are already in a relegation battle, so playing those three could be seen as a risk. It is not good enough - regardless of the fact that we lost two very good players in Benteke and Delph.

Sherwood got the money to try and replace them, and at the moment, we are not getting anywhere - mainly as half the money seems as though its been wasted. Like how bad was Lescott - and he has replaced Clark - who was playing well, and has now established himself as an international centre back. I still cannot for the life of me understand what Lescott was doing backing onto the goal line for the goal. Wtf. I am livid. 

Usual positive vibes Umma less than ONE SIXTH of our games played and we are already doomed.

The result was bad yes. The performance was bad yes.

The open slating of any other forward but Gabby is not going to solve any problems.

The next step let's sack Sherwood will the problem go away no . This is the time to draw breath and show a bit of patients and you may well be suprised by the outcome.

Yes i am prepared for the backlash.




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