Tim to Go
Another game, another loss. Two losses, actually—Tim Sherwood has been shown the door.
Despite the growing evidence showing that changing managers mid-season actually does little to help struggling teams (see Soccernomics and The Ugly Game), and despite the fact that sacking the manager does little to address deeper problems at Aston Villa, it’s hard to argue with this move. Yes, Sherwood wasn’t given the players he wanted, and, no, he didn’t have time to truly put his stamp on the club, but too often he created problems through naive tactics, puzzling lineups, and, above all, too-frequent changes that didn’t allow the players to gel.
Striking to think that the poll I took just four weeks ago showed 75% of supporters backing Sherwood. Even more amazing the remember the fervour with which he was greeted as a savior last spring. I was as happy as anyone with the initial results, yet I harbored reservations even then. Whether at Spurs or at Villa, his track record was awfully short to make long-term judgments.
He leaves with a winning percentage of 35.7%, just a bit better than Paul Lambert’s 29.57%.
We go again. But with whom?
A lot of names are being bandied about, from Brendan Rodgers and David Moyes to Bob Bradley and Remi Garde. Garde, who I wasn’t even aware of as a manager, seems to be the front-runner. Personally, I think Moyes would be a good choice, despite his current run of form in Spain and his unfortunate time in Manchester. His years of consistency at Everton, keeping them in the top half of the table on a modest budget, could be just what we need now.
That, and a huge infusion of cash during the January transfer window. With only 4 points out of a possible 30, we’re going to have to win a lot of games if the team is going to stay up.
Down, Down, There Is No Up
And after Saturday’s game, I have no confidence that we can. This season, for which I had so much hope, has turned into an absolute nightmare. The team has often played better than in previous seasons, and has kept most games close, but we have almost literally nothing to show for it.
Home to Swans was one of the few games in this stretch I felt we could win, and Jordan Ayew’s well-placed header in the second half gave me fleeting hope that I could actually be right. But we were allowed to enjoy the lead for only six minutes before a perfectly placed free kick by Sigurdsson (who else?) beat Guzan (who else?) for the equalizer.
From my predicted scoreline to Lewis’s. And then, minutes before the end of the game the elder Ayew stole the points from everybody with a goal that certainly could have been defended better. And Sunderland’s victory in the Tyne-Wear derby leaves Villa sitting alone at rock bottom. Is there a way out of this hole?