Aston Villa must change philosophy to survive

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Towards the back end of last season, Tim Sherwood's arrival seemed to be a genius appointment by Randy Lerner and the Aston Villa board.

Sherwood managed to inject some life into a faltering Villa side, helping them avoid relegation and finish runners-up in the FA Cup. Five months on and it is very much doom and gloom over Villa Park once again.

To be fair to the Villa boss, this season was going to be a real test after losing three top players in the form of Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar, the real spine of last year's side.


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Rudy Gestede looks like he could be a decent replacement for Benteke, as does Micah Richards for Vlaar. So why is it Aston Villa have not managed a win or kept a clean sheet since the opening day of the season?

The attacking and open brand of football Sherwood is so keen on playing must be the among the most obvious causes.

Now might be the time to try a different approach that is less attractive but ultimately could help win games and move Villa away from the bottom three.

Instead of being on the front foot every game to try and get a result, it may prove more beneficial to sit back, be a bit more defensive and make themselves harder to beat.

Two great managerial examples of this would be Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce - they can play nice, attacking football, but when it comes down to it they also know how to grind out results by being hard to break down.

Going direct could be another option for Sherwood to think about. He has the perfect target man in the form of Gestede at his disposal, so maybe he should play to his strengths to score more goals.

They need to get the ball into the box as much as possible in the hope that Gestede can get his head on it. More often than not he will get Villa a goal or knock it down for someone running off him to score. It's not as pretty as passing through teams, but it will get results.

"I want to go out on the front foot and, if I die, I die on my sword," Sherwood recently said. So it's safe to say he isn't particularly fond of playing defensively, but I fear if he doesn't try to change in one way or another he may only be one or two defeats away from the sack.

However, this would be a real shame because it's always good to see English managers having success at the highest level.

When it comes down to it, the best managers know how to win games and have numerous tactics to achieve that. Only playing one style of football will get you found out, just like Villa and Sherwood have been this season.

Aston Villa
Premier League

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