Success or failure? Sherwood's experiment with Ciaran Clark surprises Aston Villa supporters

Tim Sherwood Press Conference Smiling 12/02/2014

Tim Sherwood started Ciaran Clark in midfield against Birmingham City.

Aston Villa beat Birmingham City 2-1 on Tuesday night, advancing into the next round of the Capital One Cup and claiming bragging rights over their biggest rivals in the process.

Rudy Gestede's second half goal from a superb Jordan Amavi cross gave Villa the victory, with Tim Sherwood leading his side to a big win over their fierce rivals.

The two sides hadn't met for nearly five years before their clash at Villa Park, but Villa's half time changes helped them establish their dominance over Birmingham - and those changes involved Ciaran Clark changing position.

Clark, a centre back by trade, started the game in holding midfield, sitting in front of Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott in defence. It's something Villa fans haven't seen much of lately, and it's fair to say that they won't be eager to see it again any time soon after a shaky performance, with supporters taking to Twitter to criticise both Sherwood's decision and Clark's display.

The Republic of Ireland international looked uncomfortable in midfield, giving the ball away and struggling to provide suitable protection for Richards and Lescott in a poor display from the 25-year-old.

In the second half, Clark moved back in to defence as Lescott was substituted, and he looked far more assured in his natural position - not exactly much of a surprise.

Sherwood has experimented tactically already this season, utilising winger Scott Sinclair as a striker, and whilst that one has some promise, Clark in midfield is one that didn't work against Birmingham - and there are certainly doubts that it would work in the Premier League.

It was a strange decision from Sherwood, and having rectified the issue at half time, the Villa boss should now see that his experiment was a clear failure, and that Clark is a centre back, not a holding midfielder.

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