Soon after Tim Sherwood arrived at Aston Villa Football Club, he stated that the dressing room needed characters who had winning mentalities. On Saturday, Tim Sherwood faced a Stoke City team that is blessed with players who can boast of major European honours, something that Sherwood certainly envies.
In the past five seasons, the Potters have been able to buy some well known names in European football, as well as five players who have had the honour of winning the Champions League. Snatched up by Peter Coates, these players pushed the Potters’ net spend to £46,150,000 compared to the £33,650,000 Randy Lerner has splashed out. Mark Hughes has been able to implement a clear philosophy at Stoke City, looking to play a free-flowing game on the floor. The Welshman has been able to execute this style of play with the players he has brought in. Tim Sherwood, on the other hand, has admitted he doesn’t yet know his best team, which is worrying as the Villans languish in the relegation zone. Unfortunately, the fixture list doesn’t get any easier.
Tim Sherwood also explained his disappointment that his team didn’t have the necessary creative spark to open that little bit of space in front of the opposition yet he left arguably his two most creative players – Jack Grealish and Carles Gil – on the bench, bringing the pair on in the second half when it was too late as the Potters already had a tight grip on the game. Carles Gil is able to pick a pass and create an opening out of nothing, although he needs movement ahead of him. That is something the forwards are not offering. Scott Sinclair hasn’t kicked on after his goal against Sunderland. One player who has been an almost constant disappointment is Gabby Agbonlahor. Many of the Villa faithful were looking at club captain Agbonlahor to be a leading influence in the derby games but that was not the case. The former England international did not turn up and more Villa fans are starting to express their concerns about the veteran forward’s value to the team.
Jordan Ayew is another player who needs more minutes on the pitch. After the game against Birmingham City, Tim Sherwood explained how Ayew would have more opportunities to grow and show his value to the club:
“Previous to that, we hadn’t seen too much of him – and we’re hoping that will give him the confidence to grow. A performance like that can help people gain momentum and show their worth to this great football club.”
However, Ayew hasn’t seen his playing time increase as a result of his derby day cameo: the new boy had to settle for another cameo appearance in the game against Stoke City and was an unused substitute for the game against Liverpool, when the team was chasing the game.
Tim Sherwood really does need to find the right formula soon, as the club slides towards the foot of the table. It could be argued that the team deserves more points than it currently has but the Premier League is a cruel, punishing division and results are paramount to success. The Villa team needs to be more ruthless rather than fearful of making mistakes and this is something that Sherwood simply must rectify.