For the last few months nothing positive has been coming out of the Aston Villa camp. Currently the Villains sit in 17th place in the Premier League table with just three points separate them from the next bottom two teams: QPR and Burnley.
It wasn’t always this bleak for the West Midland club. In the opening stages of the season Villa were flying high and hovered in the coveted top four for a number of weeks. But, since then a slew of poor results - and an 11 hour goalless streak - have put them right in the middle of a relegation battle.
Lambert Gets the Axe
The poor results cost manager Paul Lambert his job on February 12 and was replaced by former Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood.
Since Sherwood’s appointment Villa have turned things around with three wins in their last five matches. Their efforts have so far taken them out of the relegation zone and have qualified them for a date at Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final match against either Liverpool or Blackburn.
While Sherwood may rightly get most of the accolades for these positive results it's a new acquisition that is turning heads.
Key to this spark of life in the West Midlands has been midfielder Scott Sinclair. Signed on a season long loan from reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, with the option of making the loan permanent for a reported £2.5m at seasons end.
Since being swayed by Manchester City from Swansea in 2012 Sinclair has been a shadow of his former self. In his first season with the defending champions Sinclair was unable to break into City’s squad on a regular basis and had to settle for a cameo role making 15 appearances across all competitions.
In 2013 he was loaned out to West Bromwich Albion at the beginning of the season and again failed to make a mark. However, since moving to Aston Villa Sinclair has seen his stock rise.
According to ESPN he has scored three goals from five shots on target in his last four appearances. These are incredible numbers when you consider Sinclair registered four shots on target and no goals in twelve appearances for West Brom last term.
Good things happen for those who wait
Sinclair may very well regret jumping to a big club when he did. It was certainly a risk that just didn’t pay off for him. However, regular first-team football and the belief of the manager has seemingly given Sinclair his confidence back.
A failed move to a big club can be hard on a player. But credit Sinclair for sticking with it and taking his chance with Villa. It seems to have paid off for him and the club.
With belief flowing in the dressing room and with players such as Scott Sinclair, finding their stride, Villa may well escape the drop and survive in the Premier League for another season.