The above is a clip from today’s press conference and even though it doesn’t mention the game,
I found it interesting because I wanted to gauge how confident and upbeat Sherwood sounded.
Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a man who is under massive pressure and knows his days are numbered.
His brashness and charm are non-existent and although he’s doing his best to try and convince us otherwise, I’m not persuaded he believes we’ll stay up this season.
Of course, you might think differently, but it doesn’t look good for tomorrow.
With that particular clip, it’s easy to be downbeat.
Looking at our current form, it’s even easier. The plain fact is we’re bottom of the current form league, we are the only team that haven’t got a single point in the last four games and we have one out of our last six games.
Chelsea’s form is surprisingly not much better, but they’ve still won two, drawn one and lost three of their last six games.
Even more surprising is the fact that they’ve only won one of their last four games at home.
And that’s where I see a glimmer of hope.
Now I don’t profess to know what’s going on at Chelsea, but I’ve seen talk that Mourinho has lost the dressing room, while at the same time I’ve read that their fans expect their side to give someone a right tonking.
It just makes things all the more scary, doesn’t it?
Especially when we all know that if we’re facing a team down on it’s luck and totally out of form, we can always trust the Villa to change things for them.
If anyone is going to get a tonking, it’s going to be the Villa, right?
After all, I’ve seen some of us saying it.
Squads then and the main story for Chelsea is that Branislav Ivanovic is injured.
The good news for Chelsea fans is that they feel he’s been by far the weakest link in their side.
The bad news for us is that they have four possible replacements;
“I have four solutions: I have Azpilicueta, I have the adaptation of Zouma or Ramires and I have Ola Aina, an 18-year-old who has never played a Premier League game but he’s a boy with lots of potential. He’s also an option. It depends on matches, opponents, the moment, but we have solutions.”
How the other half live eh?
Never mind them though and the Villa news is that the squad is fit, apart from Okore and Clark.
Traore’s ready, as is Gil and Grealish is match fit(!).
Even Charles N’Zogbia is training with the squad and there’s actually talk that he might get some game time. If that happens, then I’ll be calling for Sherwood’s head (unless he has a blinder, of course, which he won’t).
Clark’s a pretty big miss, as he would have been nice to have on the bench or even take the place of Lescott, but that apart, there are no major excuses for Tim Sherwood to use on the squad fitness front.
Tactics then and the truth is I don’t have a clue as to how Sherwood will approach this.
Logic says that we should sit back and try to hit Chelsea on the counter.
They’re a clever side who have plenty of weapons to pierce our flimsy defence, so perhaps the solution is to go totally defensive and put 10 men behind the ball?
After the showing against Stoke, I don’t see this, although in fairness, it’s also another reasonable option, again given our poor defence.
We have the pace to hurt them, that’s undeniable, so maybe we should go all out for the jugular?
That’s very risky and if it doesn’t work, that’s where we might indeed get a pasting.
But then, it’s how Sherwood likes to play the game.
Indeed, that’s my instinctive approach too; go for them from the off. Play with pace, pass the ball quickly, get in their faces and get an early goal.
We’re going to get thrashed anyway, aren’t we?
Only it just isn’t going to happen is it?
Because we’re far too lacklustre for too much of the game.
And if we only decide to play for the odd 20 minutes or so, like we have done lately, we’re going to get beaten.
Unless Sherwood can somehow get the players up for the game.
He’s told us how good he is, so now he needs to prove it.
No more experimenting; it’ll be pounced on by us fans and the press, who are smelling blood.
We’re going to get beaten, so it doesn’t really matter how we approach the game tactically, in my opinion.
It’s more about how we perform; If we’re beginning to show some shape and understanding as a team. And if we have a plan and stick with it, even if it fails.
Sherwood’s on a hiding to nothing for this game, as the law of averages says we should lose anyway.
Expect the screws to tighten on Sherwood come tomorrow evening then.
Except I’m not so sure.
I’m going to really stick my neck on the block and say we can win this.
I know, it’s daft. But I just have a feeling.
2-1 to the Villa