As exciting as signing a ridiculous number of new players who we haven’t heard of and have high hopes for is, it does bring with it some serious problems. The more observant amongst you may notice that we are not on the best of form and that our starting XI can vary considerably because of these new signings.
New players means new tactics, new training methods and a change in morale; these things are what pre-season is great for. There is a reason that the summer transfer window opens in time for the pre-season campaigns: managers needs to experiment with the new players, seeing what tactics work and which players suit which positions. Although Tim Sherwood has had a pre-season campaign for experimentation, it would seem that he is still unsure what the best possible Aston Villa starting XI is. The issue is that he is now experimenting in Premier League matches. In Premier League matches, the players need to be picking up as many points as they can, as a point lost now is a point we will need to get back later on down the line.
It is becoming apparent that Rudy Gestede is going to be our main goal-scorer this season, even though he hasn’t being starting every match. Whatever the reason, anyone can see that the Benin international needs a permanent place in the starting line-up and good service. Carles Gil has put in a good performance or two and he is the type of player I want to see providing service to the imposing Rudy Gestede.
Has Sherwood even found his best formation yet? It’s not exactly obvious which system his team is playing sometimes: it’s hardly ‘Mike Bassett: England Manager’ and his favoured 4-4-2. The positive thing is that we we do have the players to try different formations and, if he wants to be, Sherwood could be a tinkerer, changing formations and tactics every week to beat the opposition. Unfortunately, that’s now what he is doing now: he’s simply experimenting – and he’s losing points in the process.
On paper, things have not looked great so far, with the Villans sitting eighteenth in the table and another relegation battle looking likely, despite Sherwood’s premature promise that we’d steer clear of one this one. Once our manager has figured out what his very best Villa side is, improvement should hopefully follow and I, like many others, remain slightly optimistic and am keen to see where Sherwood is going to take us. In all honesty, Tim Sherwood can’t do much worse than Paul Lambert, in spite of the sorry start to the season, so let’s keep the faith!