This Is Villa Park

This Is Villa Park

Monday, May 11, 2015


Rejuvenate (Verb) Past tense: rejuvenated
1. to make young again; restore to youthful vigour.
2. to restore to former state; make fresh or new again.

Despite a slow start to his managerial career at Aston Villa, losing to Stoke City and Newcastle United, Tim Sherwood has since rejuvenated a club that appeared to be dead and buried. Sat in the relegation zone, 18th with just twenty two points from twenty five games, Randy Lerner needed to act fast. Out went Paul Lambert, in came Tim Sherwood and the rest is history. Yes, it hasn't been all good, there has been some bad, but 'Aston Nilla' are now rightly Aston Villa.

As the definition says, Aston Villa have been made fresh and new again.
At the heart of that is of course Tim Sherwood. As many have said "the shackles have been taken off." The team are now playing with a freedom that excites the Villa Park faithful, with attendance numbers increasing by the game. This team has flair, pace and skill along with heart and energy. Compare that with the lifeless, boring players under Paul Lambert, it is remarkable what one man can do. I for one was one of those people saying what can another manager do with this group of players? It wasn't Lambert kicking a ball, or saving a goal so what could sacking the man improve? Well, I'm now sat here writing this eating a large slice of humble pie. Sherwood has come in and been a revelation. I'll also hold my hands up and say I wasn't Sherwood's biggest fan and I wasn't particularly excited by his arrival, yet he spoke incredibly well and has proved me wrong ever since. What a man.

Thumbs Up for Tim (
The "stats don't lie" either. Lambert had a win ratio this season of 20% winning just 5 out of 25 games. His team scored only 12 goals in that time. Whereas Sherwood, who has took charge of 11 games, has already clocked up the same number of wins with a ratio of 45.5% that is "second to none", scoring 18 goals in the process.

It has been quite an unbelievable turnaround and only the man himself knows how he has done it. But until he tells us his secret equation, we can continue to hypothesise.

Christian Benteke is back on the score sheet:
The first thing that Sherwood identified when he came to the club was the lack of goals the team, in particular Christian Benteke, were scoring. Despite being injured for the early part of the season he had only scored 3 goals in all competitions, a stat which didn't reflect the striker's capability. Often we saw Benteke strolling around the half way line angered by his lack of chances. Since Sherwood has been at the club he has scored 9 goals, triple what he had previously scored. But he hasn't just been scoring, he has been restored to his former state. He looks happy to be playing again and with his confidence sky high, for the player of the month for April it seems that everything he touches turns into goals.

"I'm not going to go over the top here, but there isn't a better midfield player in the country than Fabian Delph":

Delph and Westwood celebrate his goal at Wembley
(Andy Hooper)
We all knew Fabian Delph had it, but Sherwood has made him look even better. The Yorkshire man never shies away from a tackle, is full of energy and desire and can score a goal or two. As a midfielder he seems to have it all. Demanding and strong, he leaves nothing on the pitch and has become an integral part of the starting eleven. He has been handed the armband and is the first name on the team sheet. Loyal and committed, you won't find another player like him and he has still got a lot of years left in him. Delph didn't need to be rejuvenated but he has added an extra dimension to his game, having arguably his best game in a Villa shirt at Wembley in the semi final against Liverpool. He is the epitome of Aston Villa under Tim Sherwood, and he can only get better.

Super Jack Grealish:

"The bigger the stage the better he plays" - Tim Sherwood
(Marc Atkins)

Quick feet, blistering runs, one touch passing and even an occasional Gerrard-esque pass, the nineteen year old seems to have it all. That's right, he is only nineteen. Only five games ago he was handed his first Premier League start, but you would have thought he had been playing for five years let along five weeks. He has been influential in games against Manchester City and more recently West Ham United, but his best performance came at the national stadium; a ground he may be seeing more of. It may have been labelled Liverpool and Steven Gerrard's day, but April the 19th belonged to the nineteen year old and Aston Villa. He shows maturity and intelligence beyond his years and doesn't look a shin pad out of place in this Villa team. He has claret and blue coursing through his veins, and he bleeds the colour on the pitch. It is hard to not love one of your own.

Tom Cleverley:

Cleverley scoring in the recent game against Everton
The on loan Manchester United midfielder didn't have the brightest of starts to his Aston Villa spell. There were games where he was either booed or sarcastically cheered off the field of play. He was neither here nor there, trying to fit into a team that was restricted to passing backwards and sideways.
However, the leash has been removed and Cleverley is a man that has been restored to the player that was labelled the next Paul Scholes. He may never fulfil that tag, but he has sure made his own name since the arrival of Sherwood. Scoring three goals in his last three games, he has demonstrated his abilities in front of goal but it has been more than just hitting the ball into the back of the net. Playing in the right side of the diamond, Cleverley has been given the license to make runs into the box, break up play and showcase a range of passing.
Villa now face a battle to ensure they get his signature.

With two games left to play in the Barclays Premier League and an FA Cup final to look forward to, here's to a good end to the season. Up the Villa. 

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