When Tim Sherwood was officially unveiled to the press as Villa's new manager yesterday, he talked about a need to make Villa Park a fortress.
And he's right.
I hadn't noticed this when I wrote my article about Villa needing to "save themselves" last week where I focused on dividing the rest of the fixtures into two distinct stretches but the home run-in is just about as easy as you could ask for. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at the remaining league fixtures, home and away:
|Home Fixtures||Road Fixtures|
|Stoke City||Newcastle United|
|West Bromwich Albion||Sunderland|
|Swansea City||Manchester United|
|Queens Park Rangers||Tottenham Hotspur|
|West Ham United||Southampton|
Those are… seven extremely winnable home fixtures. The highest side in the table there are a West Ham side that come early May might have absolutely nothing to play for. And Swansea? Villa probably should've won at the Liberty. Everton have talent but it hasn't quite worked out for them this year. Stoke without Bojan? A game Villa should control. The Baggies, Rangers, and the Clarets? Three games that Villa should win at home.
And then you look at the road fixtures. Four trips to top six grounds await Sherwood's Villa. Granted, I think they'll get a point or three from that run but you can't really look at them and expect to get points. That leaves trips to Newcastle — where Villa have struggled lately — and Sunderland as spots to get points on the road. Neither will be an exceptionally easy stretch.
So while Villa's home form under Paul Lambert was entirely miserable, there's a real hope that Sherwood can turn it around and make Villa Park a place where the Claret and Blues grab three points on a regular basis. In reality, it's going to be necessary.
Throw in the WBA cup quarter-final and Sherwood's boys can really go out there, grab the bull by the horns, and lead Villa to some impressive wins in front of the home crowd.
So let's get behind them. Sunday's second half was a great start and a blueprint forward for Villa. At home, when controlling play and playing with freedom and fluidity, Villa are good enough to get the five wins they need entirely at home.
Starting this Saturday against Stoke, everyone at Villa needs to get behind the cause of getting those crucial points at home. Every fixture the rest of the way in B6 is wholly winnable. If the club can do that regularly? They'll stay up and build some great momentum moving forward.
In Sherwood we trust?