A look at Villa's statistics this Premier League season compared to last term's 13 games under Sherwood.
Tim Sherwood managed to guide Aston Villa to five wins in his 13 Premier League games in charge last season but it’s going to be somewhat difficult for him to match that record this term over the same number of matches.
Without a top-flight victory since the 1-0 opening day win at Bournemouth, Villa now sit 18th in the table with just four points from eight games and their upcoming fixtures suggest that things are about to get a whole lot worse.
A decidedly tough-looking run of league games sees them face Chelsea, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Everton, respectively, in their next five matches following the international break and, considering their recent form, it’s hard to see where the points are going to come from.
With the club facing the prospect of a sixth straight relegation battle, the pressure is starting to mount on Sherwood just a couple of months into his first full campaign at the helm and the bookies now have him as the third favourite to be the next Premier League manager sacked after Steve McClaren and Jose Mourinho.
It makes a big change from the feel-good atmosphere around Villa Park during last season’s run-in, when the former Tottenham Hotspur head coach was able to transform a team that had scored just 12 league goals in 25 games into a dynamic, attacking unit, but just how much worse are his side really performing when we look past the results?
|Premier League||Season||Goals GAME||Total Shots GAME||On Target Shooting Accuracy||Clear Cut Chances Scored||Total Passes GAME||Passing Accuracy||Final Third Entries GAME||Possession Percentage||Appearances|
Attacking-wise, Villa are obviously struggling to put the ball in the net as frequently but that's hardly surprising after losing one of the league's top marksmen in Christian Benteke to Liverpool.
Though their shooting accuracy is down, they're actually finishing their clear cut chances at a slightly better rate than last season, albeit while recording fewer shots and passes per game, while there isn't a huge difference in possession percentage either.
The one area which does suggest some cause for concern, however, is how much less Sherwood's side have been able to break into the final third of the pitch – whether via a pass, dribble or turnover.
With Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley also leaving in the summer, Villa lost two players who were key to their build-up play during the final months of last term and, while the likes of Idrissa Gana and Jordan Veretout should prove to be solid replacements in the long-run, it's clear that the revamped squad is still enduring some serious teething problems when it comes to linking the midfield with the attack.
It certainly hasn't helped that Jack Grealish has struggled with injury and inconsistency of late either, while a fit-again Adama Traore should also provide a much-needed spark, but Sherwood's struggles to settle on a first-choice XI through the first eight games of the season do seem to have affected the team's cohesiveness going forward thus far.
|Premier League||Season||Opp Goals GAME||Errors Lead To Goal||Errors Lead To Shot||Opp Total Shots GAME||Opp Shooting Accuracy||Opp Clear Cut Chances Scored||Opp Total Passes GAME||Opp Pass Accuracy||Appearances|
Things may well eventually come together on the attacking side, but arguably more concerning are the numbers behind Villa's defensive struggles.
While they have conceded less goals per game, last season's statistics are largely skewed by the 6-1 defeat at Southampton, and opponents this term are in fact recording more shots while finishing 16.67 per cent less of their clear cut chances.
Worryingly, you could argue that Villa have been fortunate not to let in more and, with the likes of Man City and Chelsea coming up, their luck might be about to run out.
Most fans likely wouldn't argue that Ron Vlaar's departure has had any significant impact on the backline, given he was either injured or out of form for most of last season and replacement Micah Richards has been one of few bright spots, but fellow newcomer Joleon Lescott has proved a definite downgrade compared to both Jores Okore and Ciaran Clark over the last few matches.
Ultimately, it's hardly surprising that Sherwood's side are not playing up to last term's form given all the rebuilding that went on over the summer but, unless the squad can start gelling soon, he will be under serious pressure going into the festive period.
The overall statistics may not be drastically different compared to the three-month honeymoon period of 2014-15 but, without that extra slice of class that Benteke and Delph brought to the line-up, others are going to have to step up if the club are to avoid getting cut further adrift at the foot of the table.