Too often over the last five years we have been forced to bill games as “massive” or “must win” ones but Saturday’s game against Swansea City really is both of these things. Aston Villa Football Club needs a win. If it does not come on Saturday evening, we will be entering the first game of November on four points. I don’t know the statistics but I’d be willing to hedge my bets that any team in previous years on four points in the first week of November will have been relegated come the season’s end.
The weekend is of the utmost importance to Tim Sherwood but, more importantly, for Aston Villa Football Club. I still have some faith in our manager but if his team loses on Saturday I can’t see how he can keep his job. We would be in absolute disarray (if we aren’t already). I want him to succeed but without a win on Saturday I can’t see him getting the chance to.
I have an element of sympathy for our manager. The core of our side has gone and he didn’t even have a choice in the matter. Vlaar chose to go, Cleverley didn’t want to sign permanently and Benteke and Delph’s release clauses were met. Vlaar has been replaced by Richards, who seems to be an upgrade, but the others have proved to be huge losses.
I wrote last week of our failure to replace Benteke adequately and how Gestede is not the answer. We failed to get Adebayor who, like it or not, would have helped. Cleverley and Delph’s energy and guile have proved difficult to replace. We could have gotten away with losing one of them because Gueye looks like a good player but losing both has caused major issues. Gueye and Veretout are adapting. Westwood, who I love as a player, has gone off the boil and his recent form has been worrying while Sanchez doesn’t seem capable of lasting ninety minutes.
A major issue for us also is that we are a soft touch. When wounded, out of form teams face us we seem to be the just the remedy they need. Liverpool, Stoke City and Chelsea have all faced us over the last month, heading in to those games with varying degrees of problems, and we have gifted them all three points, with the goals last weekend being the worst yet. If your team is out of form, in a rut and in need of points then Aston Villa is the team you want to be facing. Unfortunately, the Villans are all of those aforementioned things themselves.
The Swans will travel to Villa Park on Saturday without a win in over a month and with their main striker Bafetimbi Gomis lacking goals. It’s a familiar scenario. Let’s hope the script is different to the ones we’ve seen played out in the last few weeks.
I can’t help but think that the end of Sherwood’s tenure is imminent. He’s lost a lot of the fans and once that happens I always think a manager is facing an uphill task, barring an outstanding run of results. Our fixtures suggest to me that the winning streak will probably not happen.
It does seem as if the board is delaying the inevitable and, if so, then the axe should probably have been wielded after the Stoke City game to give the new man a few weeks to settle with no game.
For all Villa fans disagree on things, none of us want to see the club going down. I don’t want to be watching Championship football every week. Aston Villa Football Club should never ever be in this position but we are – season upon season. Our time will eventually come if we continue like this.
Maybe we should reflect on whether all our managers post O’Neill were simply not up to the job. Is the hot-seat at Villa Park a poisoned chalice that seems to finish managerial careers? Not since Graham Taylor has a manager left B6 and gone on to better things.