While Tim Sherwood is still the manager of Aston Villa, recent reports have strongly speculated that his days at Villa are numbered. While we all must hope that he turns it around and puts this speculation to bed, Villa's early season results are putting his position in extreme peril. Let's take a look back at what endeared him with Villa fans last spring, and what is lacking this season.
Firstly, and most obviously, is Sherwood's change in attitude. Last season, he arrived on the scene as a happy-go-lucky manager wrongly denied a chance at his former club Spurs, with nothing to lose and all to gain. His emphatic celebrations in the stands versus Leicester and his elation after the Benteke penalty versus West Brom was over-excessive but inspired joy within any Villa fan, illustrating just how much winning and football altogether meant to him. This year, however, that energy is yet to be found. He seems dejected before games even kick off, a stark contrast to the eternal optimism we saw before every game last year. There was a never-say-die attitude about Villa last term, pulling out stunning wins over Spurs and Liverpool that inspired tangible hope at Villa. He was happy to play the underdog, at his best when everyone counted both him, and his side out, something not at all seen yet this term. He seems to have aged a lifetime over just a few months this summer, showing little to no energy on the sideline, and realizing the harsh realities of the Premier League in spectacular fashion.
Also in contrast to last season, Sherwood is yet to find a repeatable formula this season. Feeding Benteke in any way possible was an effective, short term plan for survival last season, but Benteke's departure coupled with Sherwood's mixed bag of summer signings have proved replicating this plan impossible. Sherwood's experimentation has proven extremely unsuccessful - a factor inevitably contributing to his somber and defeated attitude. The current international break may be Sherwood's last chance to change system comprehensively and hope to yield legitimate results - too much inconsistency and change may prove fatal for a squad comprised of so many young players.
As a Villa fan, it's almost unbearable to see such a change in a man who walked through the door with so much hope. While he has proven tactically inept this season and one of his best attributes (energy and attitude) has gone missing, I still have the feeling that Sherwood has more to offer than he is currently displaying. He seems to be sulking in his own failure, and his inability to show the resilience that any successful manager shows may be the most damning factor of all.
I think Sherwood should be given at least 5 more chances to prove himself, but if Villa is still on or around 4 points a month or two from now, immediate changes will be necessary. With the TV money starting in full effect next summer, this year is as crucial as any for Villa's survival. Leaving it too long will put Villa in an unfixable situation, something Randy Lerner cannot let happen.
What do you think? Let us know!
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