Tim Sherwood’s had a very up and down career in football management to date. He would have seen his first full season in charge of Aston Villa as a chance to secure his reputation as a good manager, and after the business the club did in the summer, there was pressure on Sherwood to improve on last season’s finish. However, the poor form towards the end of the 2014/15 campaign has continued and the club are sitting in 19th place with just four points to their name. They have lost seven of their last eight matches in the league and the performances haven’t been there to suggest that Sherwood can turn it around.
The club spent upwards of £45m this summer, which is an extraordinary amount considering that Randy Lerner is trying to sell the club. Villa were very shrewd in the transfer market, bringing in some experienced Premier League players in Micah Richards, Scott Sinclair and Joleon Lescott. Meanwhile, they have also scouted Europe for some impressive young players in Jordan Veretout, Adama Traore and Jordan Amavi, all of whom have been linked with much bigger clubs. The signings of Rudy Gestede and Idrissa Gueye have also looked to be good ones, with both putting in some good displays, despite the club’s poor form.
On paper, the club did some excellent transfer business, despite losing both Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke in the summer. Although some of the players brought in are young and don’t have huge reputations in this country, they do have a lot of talent, which will be clear as they adjust to the league. The experience in the back five should be giving the side solidarity in defence, but that isn’t the case at the moment and it is difficult not to put the blame at the feet of Sherwood. The team look unorganised and liable to give away cheap goals as was evident at the weekend. There have been jokes about ‘Tactics Tim’, but the problem at Villa Park is obviously the lack of organisation from the coaching staff.
In the last few matches, the reliance on Rudy Gestede has been a problem as Villa look to have no plan B in the final third. The former Blackburn striker has been a rare bright light for Tim Sherwood scoring three times in the league so far. His aerial ability is impressive, but defenders have started to take extra notice of the striker and Aston Villa need somebody else to take the pressure off Gestede. Jordan Ayew was signed to partner the Frenchman and he needs to start to make an impact as he has been poor to date.
There is no doubt that the squad is there for Sherwood to turn this around, but time is running out for him. This weekend’s match against Swansea City is crucial to Sherwood as the club have matches against Tottenham, Manchester City and Everton on the horizon and they are difficult for any side, let alone one with a losing habit. Brendan Rodgers is now available and Aston Villa will see him as a realistic target if they part ways with Sherwood, which means that the pressure on their current manager has never been more intense. He should get a few more matches, but the club can’t afford to be relegated, therefore there needs to be a turnaround sooner rather than later.