3 Wins in a row, I’d forgotten what this felt like!

Villa’s demolition job on Sunderland has been somewhat played down. Played down by the media with it more Sunderland being terrible rather than Villa being excellent on the day and played down by the manager who every time he opens his mouth reminds the fans and his players that we’re not out of the woods yet.

Having said that the 4 nil lashing of Sunderland will have no doubt given the squad a huge boost in confidence. We’ve seen with this squad how fragile their confidence can be but also how their standard can slip after getting a decent result too.

Sherwood’s biggest factor will be making sure that these players have the same drive and urgency about them, the same work ethic and concentration levels in their game and the same confidence and willingness to attack and defend to make sure that the previous 3 games efforts are not wasted.

In Swansea we are a facing a different type of team, a very solid team in both attack and defence. They all work hard for each other and all know how to use a football. In Gary Monk they have a smug git of a manager, but as much as I dislike him I have to admire how he’s picked up the reigns of Swansea and taken them on without batting an eyelid. Sure they’re not as technical as they where under Rodgers, not as attacking as under Laudrup, but they are a very decent team who will be hard for Villa to break down.

It will be a challenge for Villa also as they offer a very different test for our players, Sunderland and WBA are not the type of teams who look to retain the ball and be patient for an opening, this has allowed Villa to have the lions share of possession in recent matches. Swansea I doubt will give the ball up so easily, and as such the Villa team will have to be compact and patient in their pressing game. Staying on their feet, forcing Swansea to play passes they don’t want to.

Tactically the teams will probably set up similarly, with both teams having pace out wide and a big man as the focus of their attacks. I expect to see a pretty open game with hopefully lots of good football….. and hopefully a fair amount of goals for Villa.

If I was a betting on it I’d go for a 1-1, but I’m not and I’m a happy confident Villan again, so I say “Villa to win a Thrilla” and sink the Swans 4-2.

Come on you Villa boys.

Comments 63

  1. We have to make up for last seasons battering at Swansea thanks to the Berk. That was a hard game to take. Lost 4-1 in the middle of many defeats.

    Tomorrow will be really tough. I just don’t know yet how our players will come out to winning a game a 4-0. They might think they might not hVe to try, or they will run riot. Swansea are a very good side though but aren’t the same without Bony

    I love there wingers but I expect they will play a diamond tomorrow. If so, we might get some luck with a 442 out wide but at the same time we could get slaughtered in the midfield battle if it’s just Clev and Delph covering the midfield ground again like Sunderland

    One thing for sure is I think Sinclair will be up for it but on of the front 4 might have to dropped for a centre mid to come in

  2. Morning people. I like to see teams like Swansea and Southampton doing well, losing their managers and best players but still keeping at it. Bit of a throwback to the days when there was more to building a successful football club than sacking your manager and/or doing another hundred million on new players.

    Heard a Man City fan on Talk Sport explaining that Pelligrini had to be sacked because they wouldn’t tolerate mediocrity like Arsenal do. When they were scratching round League One 10 years ago they would have bitten your arm off for Premier League mediocrity. Don’t like the Scousers but you can’t beat either bunch of Mancs for arrogance and self-delusion.

    Strange feeling this morning and not that end of the world Solar eclipse thing – incidentally, don’t get tempted to have a sneaky peek at it next time we have one unless you want blurry vision for the next half hour. I can’t remember the last time on a Friday morning when I was actually looking forward to a game at Villa. I’m going for a friendly 3-1.


  3. Morning lifers,

    Thank you for the opener Graham. Nice point about Monk- A great example of a manager with little experience in management at any level (even youth) flourishing in the premier league. When we appointed TS no one was looking at Monk and thinking well if he can do it why can’t Tim?

    In other news… the old man would always said make loads of friends at uni- you never know when they might come in handy… well wouldn’t you know an old pal I played footy with at uni now works at the FA (jammy git) and messaged me on FB yesterday saying would you like 4 tickets for the Villa game at Wembley. Errm yes?!

  4. Morning all.

    Graham – Monk almost seems a lesser version of Sherwood! Between the two I know who Id rather have.

    Frem – I think you called it spot one. One of the attacking 4 needs to be replaced by an extra CM so we dont get out-possessed in the middle. We’ll probably still play 2 upfront so I think the most likely to be dropped is Sinclair. Westwood to come in for him and a revert to the 4-1-2-1-2 diamond we saw game 1 vs WBA.

    Sherwood has tinkered with his team each match so far, I doubt that it will be the same team last time. Swansea are a much more difficult proposition than Sunderland who played with no width. Swansea have some nippy wingers who could take advantage. Id still start Bacuna though as he deserves his place.

    Do we have any of our LB’s back??

    Rags – so emplyees of the FA get priority over fans?

  5. I read that too Rags, great insight. Explains why the club has been so poor under so many different managers. A lot of players not giving their all and just picking up a cheque. I would hate that if I was a Sunderland fan. They’re in real trouble and need a complete overhaul of the club. Owners are partly to blame for giving in to player power.

    Between them and Hull imo.

  6. Ree, yes always. FA employees, local FAs, sponsors and corporates take priority over supporters. What are you, some kind of Communist?

    I wanted to get a ticket for my old man for the 2000 final. Paid about a ton over face value for a ticket that had originally been issued to the Durham FA. The old man moaned all the way there and all the way back and then announced when we got back to Brum that he wished he’d stayed at home and watched it on TV!

  7. Hi Ree,

    Honestly I have no idea how it works, I don’t know how high up he is, whether all FA employees get tickets or just a percentage that work in a department directly related to Wembley event organisation, I’ll find out though. In terms of my friend he gets two tickets for free and can then buy a couple more. I think 20,000 of the seats at Wembley are ‘neutral’ commercial seats with 30,000 either side for the fans. Not 100% on that though. I imagine I’ll be surrounded by scousers.

  8. Surely it’s about discipline Ree. Di Canio didn’t really need an excuse to go bat shit mental but no wonder he criticised the players like he did. It’s a shame his imagine meant everyone just ignored it as Di Canio being deluded, seems to me now he was right and Sunderland should have backed him.

  9. The allocations are different for the final and the semis. Obviously there is greater demand for the final from fans, sponsors and corporates. Clubs share around 65,000 tickets for each semi-final. Clubs allocation for the final is 50,000 tickets, so even though more fans would want to go to the final than the semi, the clubs lose around 15,000 tickets, so without question the fans are well down the list. Remember as well club staff and players will hoover up a chunk of the club’s allocation.

  10. Rags – def should have backed Di Canio. He was nuts but he had passion and understood what its like to be a fan. How many managers would do what he did with his gestures to his own fans? The media went crazy about it but I saw a guy who was taking responsibility and trying to give something back.

    I think we have allocation of 32k for each of the finalists, meaning there is 16k corporate/commercial seats. Well they had to pay for the monstrous cost somehow… and by doing that made the game that bit more plastic. Real fans would kill for those tickets while these lot happen to go because they are gifted/treated by companies.

    Wonder how many real fans were at the world cup final? The commercialising of football kills the soul of it.

  11. One of my dreams would be to see Villa win the FA Cup at Wembley. Right now Im way down the list for the semi nevermind the final! As I should be compared to those who see Villa week in week out. I dont since I choose to spend my money on more important things to me like my family and our future.

    But it irks me that somebody with no connection to the club or maybe even the game itself gets a ticket ahead of me.

  12. Ree, your lucky mate for some people their football team is the most important thing to them, not everyone has a nice family and a discernible and hopeful future. If you didn’t have those things though at least you could go to the cup final! πŸ˜‰ In terms of the commercialisation of football I agree with you to a degree but I think it’s more complex. All but the very fortunate/wealthy fans are constrained by their economic and social position to a point, even before commercialisation. People that can afford a seat but can’t get one are the only people constrained by the seats taken by sponsors etc… how many ‘real fans’ are there that can afford to go to a world cup final? maybe 0.05%?

    So yeah it’s annoying but money makes the world go round

  13. Not sure how true that Sunderland article is but the players deserve to go down if that’s the case. I hope they keep struggling for he better of AVFC. I hope they lose and we win again.

    All the teams in and around us on appear have fixtures they should lose. We just need to do out part but not sure we will

    I’ve got my wembley tickets guys. Block 137. The seats don’t look great though. Seems the earlier you can book the worse the seats you end up with.

  14. Wish Sherwood will stop talking about Spurs and Kane. I put Villa news now in and most of it is about Kane

    I don’t give a feck about Kane or Spurs and your managing Villa now

    Anyway, he says if we stay up and don’t buy a single player, we still won’t be in a relegation battle next season

    He’s right, but I don’t know if I should worry if that will be the case of Randy stays

  15. Thats life. But yeh.. back to the football!

    The team I would pick: 41212 diamond





  16. Hey Frem, thats the problem with the media, they actively chase soundbites from Sherwood, what better for click baiting then Sherwood saying the transfer policy in Spuds is sh1t. You can be gauranteed that he was asked questions about Villa but the soundbite quality wasn’t there today.

    Sometimes it feels unless you are actually in the room asking questions, you getting no information at all. But this comes back to Villa PR producing it’s own interviews and distributing to the media. I don’t ever see Villa PR influencing the media agenda, not least the evidence of the lack of coverage Villa has in the redtops.

    I’m sure none of us are fans of those papers but it’s better to be talked about than nothing at all.

    Cautiously optimistic about the Swans game, same as Sunderland and i’ll follow the same routine of having to miss internet feeds while dropping my girls to dancing and then a nervous check at 4.50 on Sky Sports to see the score, it worked last week πŸ™‚


  17. Ree & other Villans,
    Don’t know if you know but every club affiliated to their county FA is entitled to 2 FA Cup Final tickets, not many clubs actually apply, so if you know anyone who runs a football club, either Saturday or Sunday, tap them up, usually hardly anyone applies outside the finalists areas. I went to Chelsea vs Leeds this way.

  18. Looks a solid team Ree, I get your reasoning for the diamond vs Swansea with them being so good at ball retention. I have a feeling TS might stick with the same 11, I really hope he doesn’t drop Bacuna, that would send out a bad message. Lamberk would do that, drop someone who was our best player for one of his favourites. Out of all the guys who started vs Sunderland I agree with dropping Sinclair if anyone.

    Frem, that’s another issue with ticketing, the commercial seats I have appear to be pretty good, on the half way line, whereas the hardcore like you get average seats at best, hardly fair. Would be good if we could go for a pint before the game.

  19. Saturday would have been a good opportunity for Grealish to make the extra man in MF, unfortunately it looks like Westwood will play. Villa win either 2-1 or 1-0 in a tight, tactical game, just avoid defeat.

  20. It’s been decided to make part of the Lower Holte – L7 and L8 – a special designated singing section – starting with the Swansea game.
    Err, ‘scuse me, the entire Holte has always been a singing section, whats this ‘designated’ crepe.

  21. Alright Steamer,thanks for the heads up!

    Yeah when I read about this new section I thought what a good idea, will really liven up the Trinity that, then I read it’s in the Holte xD

  22. Nice shout on the tickets Steamer, unfortunely I dont know anybody. All good though Ill try my luck any way.

    I think we will win Saturday. Swansea dont really have anything to play for, they will be professional but I think we will have too much fight for them. Only problem I see is if we dont press collectively, they would just hold possession for fun.

    2-0 UTV

  23. Is CNZ ‘s contract up in the summer? If so, there is 3 players we need replacing from the off. Him, Vlaar and Celv who wants to go to Everton

    Will Helenius get a chance when e comes back? I hope so.

    I’d be surprised if we saw a diamond tomoz. Sherwood likes wingers. Yeeeeey

  24. Frem,

    The Zog thing is tricky.His new attitude is obvs down to TS but would he be busting a gut to get in the team if his contract wasn’t up? My heart says give him a new deal but the head says he’ll be a waste of space again next season. What do you guys think?

    GG can come back and if he stays injury free can replace Clev and Okore/Clark have been great IMO.

    All in all maybe an up and coming centre half and maybe a new winger for Zog but we do have Gil and young Jack too!

  25. Possibly Zogs form was similar to virtually every other player at VP, dead end club under Lambert, team selected by a player who shouldn’t have been in it anyway, unfit staff, crepe coaching,no guidance, no hope, nothing. Imagine how the vermin feel they’ve been like it since 1875.
    I’d give him a two year contract, i think that he’s finally got a manager who knows him and respects what he can do rather than decry him for what he can’t do.

  26. TS is a manager that likes wingers and will use players in their ideal or preferred position, you can guarantee the likes of N’Zogbia will feel more appreciated and used better in games that would ensure he has a future at the club.

    Roll on Saturday

  27. I thought Nzogbia’s contract was up next season? Or am I wrong?

    I dont think his upturn is down to the fact he wants a new contract, its down to the fact that TS has shown faith in him to go out and play his game. The contract thing maybe giving an edge.

    Looking forward to seeing what GG can do under Sherwood, I think he’s his type of midfielder. Although I dont see him as a like for like replacement of Cleverly. He’s a different type of footballer.

    We do need enforcements in the summer but tbh our squad is not bad. If we can add some genuine quality in the summer then things will be looking good for next season.

    Lets not get ahead of ourselves though, we need to stay up first and foremost.

  28. Steamer,

    Agreed, the way Lamberk would speak about Zog couldn’t have helped- something along the lines of ‘he’s good but most of the time he’s shit’

  29. Well it would be nice if Zoggy has a year left. Keep him and see if he can do it more regularly. I hope Gil gets a chance to. Very good player. Really loving Villa the moment. Hopefully we can stay up, win the cup and push on πŸ™‚

    I love how Sherwood speaks. So nice to the boring predictable Berk press conferences.

    He said he asks players if they are 100 percent sure of there jobs before kick off, because if they come of the field without doing it he will tell them so. He said he will give the a boot up the backside before kick off so they don’t get complacent. I can imagine Lambert before kick off said there all winners what ever happens out there. Twat.

    He’s said a few times that it’s not a them and us situation. We are all in it together, we all want the same thing. Makes you wonder what it was like before he took over

    My favourite one was after the WBA game on the radio when he said sometimes he hates the players just as much as he loves them . We know how he feels πŸ™‚

  30. I think tomorrow is a game for gill. Swans wont leave a lot of space to attack and use pace, might need a lock picker.

    The wins against baggies and blunderland was a must to give us a chance of staying up.

    Thank god we have that chance now and its another must win game. Get on 31 points and others draw or loose it will give us breathing space. Stay on 28 going into int break and tough april games will kill us.

  31. Evenjng all .
    Another good article Graham and the Monk and Sherwood comparison an interesting one. TS was not my first or even third choice manager but each week we can see improvements in all areas .
    I liked his message to the youngsters when he said that Hepburn Murphy got his chance and so will others . This is a club that wants to encourage it’s own and also entice other talented youth players to choose AV as the club of opportunity. Contrast this with when PL came and he shipped in young players from lower leagues when our youth team has just won the Next Gen.

    And now he’s even got Zog playing , after telling him he wasn’t fit enough for the Premier League . I’m really pleased for Zog , he’s never looked happy at AV until now .

    A last minute invite for a Ladies do in a box at VP and I just can’t wait !!

    Swansea are in decline since Bony left and whilst they are decent defensively , with our forwards on form and the revitalised atmosphere at VP I am gojng for 3-1 win for us. What price a Benteke hat trick I !

  32. rags- what kind of midfielder is GG? are you taking the piss
    after my GGathon yesterday with videos and everything!!
    at forest he’s playing as a DM but is pulling the strings, occasionally he drifts forward and whacks it in from 25-35 yards out for good measure. he can make runs into the box too ala robson/platt can score with both feet and head and takes wicked free kicks. think the way he is running things at forest he could be our deep lying playmaker.

  33. Swansea gave liverpoo the run around for an hour so this wont be easy but gabbys pace, tekkers strength and nzogbias refound skills should be enough to get the win.
    bit worried about our fullbacks as they have quick players but they don’t score many (not like us πŸ˜‰ ) I’m going for 2-0

  34. And not a sour note to be seen – how the times have changed with the change of manager, Regarding the comparison with Monk, I did refer to him at the time of the great badges debate; as has been commented he took to it like a duck to water albeit he knew all the players to start with.

    I just read an interesting article in the Guardian and there might be some truth in the last bit about the Villa

  35. That’s a very interesting article Clive. Southampton are more and more looking to be an impressive and successful model even after the acid test of them losing manager and key players. Add to this the Nike school’s success and maybe Tim Sherwood’s appointment was down to his experience in youth development . Maybe the new owner will want to go down this route which offers something different to success being largely determined by Β£ versus Β£ . Now that would be exciting.
    You are right Clive , Monk and Sherwood did their coaching badges together .

  36. Who knows ? maybe Nike are the people who are negotiating with Lerner at the moment.

    A box now, will you still come on the blog now you’ve gone upmarket ?

  37. Yeah Jen will you forget all your old friends at AVL when you are sat there in a comfy seat eating your prawn sandwich and drinking prosseco how the worm has turned.


  38. Jen- had my box experience a few years ago. On a Sunday vs Chelsea we got done 3-0. Got a few looks from the corporate types as I swore at the glass and remembered being pissed off I couldn’t chuck horderves at the Chelsea fans. Food was good but no booze in the box allowed but your pint was waiting in the lounge at half time, enjoy.

    I definitely think the Southampton model is where we are heading. Fox’s comments ( remember him) all hint at it and TS’s experience lends to it. Paddy reillys efforts seem to be toward recruiting prospects too.


    It really is another huge game. Only being 3 points of 18th is horrible

    I fancy QPR to get 3 points this weekend. Just hope we do our bit and Burnley and Leicester lose, Sunderland to

  40. frem- no atmosphere, its like watching it on a big weird tele with muffled sound. sounds like jens might be private you know strippers and stuff πŸ˜‰

  41. Here’s an interesting stat – if we win today – Tim Sherwood will have won all his games in March making him our first contender for Manager of the Month in five years. MON last won it in April 2010.

    We still have a huge task to avoid relegation but hope is there.

  42. Massive game today, if we can win today I’ll feel a lot more positive regards our fight for premiership survival. If we win( and we definitely can), and the others falter, we could actually start to see some real daylight between us and the bottom 3, which is imperative given the April fixture list. Swansea are no mugs and spanked us at the Liberty in the past, but I’m going for a tight 2-1 win.
    I’ve got my train tickets for the semi sorted, Birmingham moor St to Wembley, don’t get into Wembley til 1230 tho, would have liked a bit more time, but they were cheap enough, and only one change.

  43. just listened to TS’s presser, I don’t think he’s arrogant I think Gary Monk is right he is black and white, says what he thinks without any filters, its refreshing in this day and age. The message he gave out about playing the young lad at Sunderland is “come to Villa if your good enough I will play you”, excellent stuff, this is how it should of been when we set on this course three years ago.

  44. Panic stations. Dreading we will lose and Sunderland, Burnley will win, even QPR.

    Perfect weekend though would be

    We win, WBA lose to City and we go 2 points behind WBA. Hull lose and we go 3 points clear of them. Sunderland and Burnley lose and we go more clear of them. QPR beat Everton and we go level with Everton. Or a draw

    Please make it happen someone.

  45. trin- whose going to win the rugby? I’m hoping at 5 England will have to beat France by 10 at the most, Italy and Scotland need big games today. A villa win followed by England winning the six nations and I might have a small sherry with supper

  46. Think their may be a shock in the rugby union, the fat blokes might catch the ball, possibly the French may rub garlic on it just to make sure they don’t.

    Good post Mark, no-one could understand any of Lamberts messages but you knew they weren’t encouraging.
    Who cares about small clubs like Spuds, always had a high opinion of themselves, 54 years since they won the league isn’t it ?

    Should have gone on Perk’s coach, best organised i,ve been on.

  47. Big game today lads. Lets hope we get the right result. Its not a must-win for us imo but its a must-not-lose. A win would be absolutely massive. Lets go and get that win!


    P.S. How the hell did the Baggies manage to get someone sent off in first minute??

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