On Monday night, Aston Villa play Tottenham Hotspur in what will be Villa's first league match in this post-Tim Sherwood world. The narrative would have written itself had Tim not been dismissed as manager, after all, he earned his stripes managing Spurs before coming to Villa. Fear not, you don't have to wonder at what might have been, this is Don't look back in anger, so we're going to revisit Tim's first and only trip to White Hart Lane as Villa boss. *Cries.
The last time we met
It seems like only yesterday, but Villa last visited Spurs back in April, and they came away with a smash and grab style 1-0 victory, which was crucial in securing Villa's survival. The goal itself was a typical Villa goal during the Christian Benteke era. Leandro Bacuna swung in a peach of a cross, and Benteke rose high above Federico Fazio to head home the game's only goal.
He seems like an ever present member of the Villa first team now, so it's quite surprising looking back that this was only Jack Grealish's second start in the claret and blue. His youthful step was just what Villa needed, and it showed as he finished the game with the highest passing average of any starters that day. Elsewhere, Gabby was Gabby, hitting the post when he was clean through on goal and ultimately squandering the chance for Villa to go 2-0 up.
It wasn't all good however, Ciaran Clark picked up a season ending injury and Carlos Sanchez picked up two yellow cards (and a red thus), so both missed out on the glory of the FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley. Sanchez at least featured in the Final, but the day must have been so bitter sweet for Ciaran Clark.
Does anyone even care anymore?
*Disclaimer* At the time of writing, Aston Villa have not appointed a permanent manager. This has been written with the understanding that Kevin MacDonald is taking charge of the game.
With Tim Sherwood at the helm of Aston Villa, the upcoming match against Tottenham was one filled with sub-narratives and interest. Case in point, the ever prestigious Adebayor Cup. Obviously, Tim was of course the former Spurs manager and he was sacked somewhat harshly (though in hindsight justifiably). But now, Tim Sherwood as Villa manager is no more, and thus the Tim Sherwood ft. Adebayor derby is no more.
Of course we could have the Kevin MacDonald derby, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Spurs this season
After a slow start to the season, business has definitely picked up for Spurs, with the Londoners currently sitting in 6th place. In fact, they are unbeaten since their narrow 1-0 defeat on the opening day of the season. So it's not exactly the best time for Villa to be playing them. Great.
Emmanuel Adebayor wasn't the only striker to depart Spurs in the summer. With Roberto Soldado also gone, Tottenham's forward ranks are looking a little thin. This puts all of the pressure on Harry Kane to deliver the goods and to be fair to the guy, after a slow start, he's finally found his shooting boots. Again, not the best news for Villa.
Elsewhere, Ryan Mason will probably feature, and yes, he's still a d**k. Villa tend to give away stupid fouls in stupid places, and in Christian Eriksen, Spurs have the calibre of player who could punish Villa, just like Sunderland and Swansea did in previous weeks.
So yeah, I'm a little worried. Jordan Ayew finally scored last week, so hopefully he can help turn things around. Because without some individual genius or a stroke of luck, I can't see any other way for the tide to turn. And the tide is coming in quite fast.