Lawrenson on what he expects from Aston Villa against Stoke City

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson looks ahead to Aston Villa’s home game against Stoke City.

Mark Lawrenson believes Tim Sherwood’s arrival as new Aston Villa boss will spur the Midlands side on to a 2-0 victory against Stoke City this weekend, he predicts in his BBC Sport column.

The former Tottenham Hotspur boss took over the reins at Villa Park last week and is tasked with saving the club against the real possibility of relegation from the Premier League.

The Villains currently lie in 18th spot in the table having undergone a ten-game winless run, scoring just two goals in the process.

However, Sherwood’s arrival coincided with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City in the FA Cup last weekend and Lawro predicts the Villains to pull off another victory on Saturday.

“Changing the manager always gives players extra impetus, and those who have been out of the team know they have got a chance to shine in front of the new manager,” Lawro explained.

“So I am expecting a big improvement from Aston Villa on Saturday in new boss Tim Sherwood’s first game with him properly in charge. There will be a very different atmosphere at Villa Park too.”

“Because of all that, as well as the fact that Stoke have lost their last two games 4-1, I really fancy a Villa win.”

Key to survival:

Defensively, Villa were never too bad under former boss Paul Lambert. Their biggest problem was the lack of chances they create from midfield and in turn the lack of goals scored.

Incredibly, they have found the net just 12 times in the Premier League this season, and only four times on their travels in 13 encounters.

Sherwood will be tasked with getting his midfielders to be more creative, but arguably his biggest challenge is to help striker Christian Benteke rediscover his old form.

The Belgian international scored goals aplenty in his debut campaign in England, and if Sherwood can get the 24-year-old firing on all cylinders once more then their chances of survival will improve tenfold.

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