We've got one last From the Stands report from Villa Park this season. Harry Johnson returns for the league curtain call, where he reports on the Burnley match from the K4 block in the Holte End.
Well thankfully yet another forgettable Premier League season is now over, and Sherwood has achieved what he had to do, and more with the cup final on its way. It wasn't going to be an easy task taking over from the man, who in my eyes, is the worst manager this club has ever had. Ever.
I was at the Southampton game last week and as many others did, I witnessed first hand an utter shambles of a performance, and we set a record that will probably never be broken again. We will hold that record until the earth is sucked into a black hole.
40 thousand were at Villa Park yesterday expecting a reaction from our players. It would have been a sell out but Burnley fans let us down. It was nice to see the home section full anyway. It should be like that every week as it's a pretty great sight. The reaction never came though. The players had Wembley in their heads, and to be honest, most of the fans did as well. And who wouldn't? We are less than a week away from possibly winning one of the greatest competitions in world football.
Back to the game. The team sheet was announced and I couldn't work out what formation we were playing. We had no left back, so you would presume Delph would go there, right? Wrong. Charles N'Zogbia lined up there and it didn't work one bit. Defensively he was cut open way too easily by simple off-the-ball runs. Going forward he was poor as well apart from a decent shot. He won't be there on Saturday that's for sure. Steer started in goal also. Given was injured and might miss the final, so there was no point in risking Guzan getting injured as well. He was nowhere near Danny Ings' header, but he did produce a decent one-on-one save from Boyd. His kicking is shocking but thankfully he didn't actually have hardly anything to do all game.
They were the only two surprise selections really. The team picked itself otherwise. We carried on with our diamond, whilst Burnley played their 442 and did it very well. They played narrow and left little space for Grealish to pick up the ball through the lines. When Ings got his goal inside 6 minutes, it was going to be even harder for us to beat an organized Burnley side. They haven't gone down because they are useless defensively, they've gone down because a lack of quality in the final third. Our first chance fell to Vlaar inside 16 minutes who sliced his shot just wide. Benteke and Westwood had efforts saved from Heaton in the first 45 mins but that's all we mustered up. A lack of quality delivery from Bacuna and Zoggy out wide let us down all game. All in all it was a poor first half, and a lackluster one barring in mind we all thought a reaction would be on its way.
The second half got a bit better, kind of. I was hoping for a change of tactics, to match their 442 and play with real width but it never came. Gabby had a good chance on 63 mins, but like all his career, he missed. He was utterly dire all game but that's no surprise. He's a very poor footballer. If we are to keep Benteke, he needs a quality strike partner with him, like Ings. Weimann, Gabby and Kozak I'd all sell this summer. Robbinson was on the bench, but he never came on which was a shame. Sinclair came on for Cleverley, and Hutton for Bacuna but neither did anything. Hutton is even worse at crossing than Bacuna so I'm not sure why he came on. The only other effort was from Zoggy who produced a decent save from their keeper.
We never got going all game. We didn't move the ball quick enough, we didn't deliver with quality when we had the chance. We have to up our game for Arsenal or they will destroy us.
A lot of the stadium emptied for the lap of appreciation, but most of the Holte End stayed. To be fair, we did finish 17th and if it wasn't for Wembley I don't think the fans would have been so good towards the players. Tim Sherwood's name was sang loud and proud, and he tapped the Villa badge a few times. All in all, I think he's a liked man and always will be if he wins us the cup. He's got a lot to learn for sure, but he will. I love his passion and the way he speaks. I'm only a young lad who has only ever know heart break being a Villa fan. Losing to United in 2010 in the cup final, messing up 4th place finishes to only end up 6th and off course the last 5 seasons have been painful beyond belief. It could all change though. An FA cup for the first time since 1957. I am lucky enough to be able to go. We would get into Europe. We may have new owners and more money to spend, we have an exciting manager, a world class striker who we need to keep. We need a squad overhaul. It's a huge few days, and a huge summer ahead for us. I for one will shed a tear if we win. I will be the proudest Villa fan on earth and it will make up for years of pain.
UTV !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This time next week we will be FA Cup champions!
Thanks to Harry for the report! I love that the fans are singing Sherwood's name loudly and proudly. Here's to hoping your last line is right! Remember, you can follow Harry on twitter @avfc_johnson. We'll have one last From the Stands from Wembley next week.
Throughout the FA Cup final week, we're raising money for the Villa Rockets Powerchair Football club. With your help we can reach £5,000 and get them a new powerchair! Read about the club and our effort here, or simply click here to donate and help us reach our goal! And remember, if you donate any amount, you can enter to win a free Fabian Delph t-shirt from The Art of Football!