We're starting a new series here at 7500 to Holte in which people who were actually at the match give us their View from the Stands. You'll see each writer a few times before we switch to someone else. First up, Harry Johnson, who traveled North to see Tim Sherwood's boys take on Newcastle United.
A lack of ideas. A lack a fight. Another embarrassment to AVFC.
That was my view of things at least up in the God's at St James Park. We didn't play like a team in a relegation battle, we played like a team who are already down and it looks like the players just want to be on there summer holidays already. The lack of fight and urgency was disheartening. It was painful to watch for the great traveling away support yet again. If only the players showed half as much dedication and passion for this club as the fans do.
The atmosphere before the game was pretty buoyant. After all, it was only Sherwood's second match in charge and we were looking forward to seeing what he had been doing with the players in training. Lets just say, we all left the game asking our self's exactly that- What the hell do we do in training ?!?!?! It wasn't only buoyant because of that, we fancied our chances. Newcastle are no world beaters and they came into the game after a 5-0 hammering from City. Their season is over, they have nothing to play for, so surely a team fighting for survival against a team with nothing to play for would come out on top? That's what we all thought anyway
Sherwood's selection: When I saw the lineup announced, I thought it was going to be a 433 shape. It made sense as we had 3 attackers and 3 center Midfielders. I was surprised and slightly annoyed to see it as a 442 with Cleverley playing right mid. I have no problem with a 442, but it should be played with two wingers and although Cleverley was probably one of our better players on Saturday, he isn't a winger. He doesn't have the pace to play it, or the quality. Sinclair on the opposite wing was awful. He didn't beat his man once, he didn't do anything of note all game and was later replaced by N'Zogbia, who was also awful when he came on. His Villa career was summed up right at the end, with a half chance when his shot was closer to the traveling support then the goal.
It was good to see Lowton back but Sherwood got it all wrong playing him left back and not Hutton instead. One thing Lowton can do is a cross ball, something Hutton can't so why play a full back with a very nice right foot, at left back ? It took a very good weapon out the game. I'm pretty sure Benteke would score soon enough if Lowton was played right back from now on.
Westwood- I think yesterday was the final straw with him. I don't know what he offers any more. His corners and free kick deliveries are disgraceful. Fans were getting furious with it as he had a lot yesterday and didn't deliver one good set play. His midfield partner in Delph has been poor ever since he signed his new deal.
Shabby Agbonlahor- If I said what I really thought about him this article would never get posted. He's never been a good footballer, not even under MON when his best scoring season is a pitiful 14 when he had very good players supplying him. I hate the fact he keeps playing for this club and if he really is a Villa fan, he doesn't show it. Yesterday, I can't recall him passing to a Villa player either. His second touch is nearly always a tackle because his first touch always bounces somewhere off his body. He's a clueless player with not an ounce of ability in him. He's lost his pace, a lot of defenders keep up with him now. If I had my way, he would never play for Villa again. I've thought that for years now.
You can put Weimann in the same bracket as Gabby. He came on yesterday, myself and many others witnessed probably the most useless substitute appearance ever to be seen. Same as when he came on against Stoke. Another very very poor footballer.
Benteke- He needs a goal and had a very good chance to get one.he should have scored a tap in, but for some reason didn't step forward to do so. He won more in the air than he has been doing but we need him to start scoring because we won't stay up other wise.
Okore - Slipped for the goal and still haven't made my mind up on him. Clark, player of the season hands down. The only guy who shows commitment. Should be our captain.
Gil should have came on at some point. No idea why he wasn't. maybe Sherwood doesn't rate him?
Overall, devastated. Devastated for all the fans who traveled a long way and paid a lot of money. We were slightly on top before Newcastle scored but never really got going again afterwards. The lack of fight is worrying. Maybe that will change next week in two of the biggest games ever for this club. The players have to realize the season isn't over because from what I saw, that's what they think. We can still stay up and win the FA cup. That would be an epic achievement and they have to start fighting for this club. We are a great club, great history, a great stadium, a big fan base. Founders of the football league. We need to get back up there but first we need the players to run through brick walls to do that. Will they though?
Bring on Tuesday night.
Thanks for the report, Harry! You can follow Harry on twitter at @avfc_johnson.