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      Just visiting?   27/12/16

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From Leicester to Leicester

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It was the 14th of February this year, when the Sherwood love affair with Villa started. The following day saw the first signs of Sherwood's influence, when he visited the dressing room at halftime to help inspire the team to a 2-1 win over Leicester in the cup.

Before that, we were heading for yet more disappointment - with another frustrating first half performance, the sort we were used to under Lambert. But after leaving his seat in the stands and giving a morale boosting talk, a different Villa appeared for the second half. We ended up winning 2-1 and putting on a much better display for the fans.

Fast forward seven months and Tim has a new team under his control, bringing in 11 new players during the summer - transforming the club from top to bottom.

Last week saw us play Leicester for the first time since the display in the cup back in February, and this time saw one of the best first half displays we have put on for a long while. Culminating in a 1-0 half time lead thanks to Jack Grealish who scored his first goal for the club.

The second half was a different story, compared to the encounter in February. We managed to force a 2-0 lead, thanks to great work from Agbonlahor to set up Gill, but it was all downhill from there. 

Gill was almost immediately replaced by Ayew - who has struggled to fit into English football so far, and the team lost it's shape - leaving us losing important battles in midfield.

And with Bacuna not being offered any support, it was only a matter of time before Leicester took advantage, with Bacuna's errors helped Leicester get back into the game.

It was only after this that Sherwood made defensive changes, but it was too little too late and the game was lost thanks to a last minute goal from the pint sized Leicester winger Nathan Dyer.

It was in stark contrast to February when Sherwood's team talk helped produce a fantastic win for Villa. This time he had no answer to Ranieri who used his experience to outwit Sherwood and win the game, when we should have taken the three points.

The loss to Leicester was followed up by a performance most fans will want to forget, in losing 1-0 to West Brom. Once again the tactics could come under fire, as Villa spent most of the game being out-battled in midfield, playing long balls to Agbonlahor and for Sherwood to be unable to react to the stubbornness of Pulis' defensive minded team.

Sherwood has done well in his short time as boss, but he needs to learn to cope when teams bring their plan a and plan b, and he needs to be able to react a lot quicker when things aren't going to plan.

Sometimes it seems as though we have 11 players on the pitch, but there is no communication and we are looking at 11 different players, instead of one team. It's sometimes hard to see where players are filling in, and to see where the fluidity is coming from to help us attack.

Even so, it's far too early to call for Sherwood's head. He has had 5 months using one set of players, and nearly two months with his own team. He does need to find a style which works, and yes he does need to stop making silly decisions which cost us points, but he also needs time to mould these players into what he needs them to be - and that might just take a little longer than we hoped.

And now, we head into tomorrow and another battle against the great unwashed. Here's to a positive performance from Tim and the team.


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