Villa’s renewed hopes of survival lie in the hands of the new 46-year-old Tim Sherwood. It seems that mid-week he came down from the stands to provide his players with a much needed half-time team talk that saw his side grasp a 2-1 victory over Leceister City in the FA Cup.
Following the FA Cup success, Sherwood must now concentrate on steering Villa back into safety in hopes of staying in the Premier League at the end of the year. Sherwood’s performance as Tottenham interim manager was not negative what so ever, however a club that was focused so much on European Football might’ve required a more international face dealing with the muti-cultural talent steaming out of White Hart Lane. Conversely, this opportunity might be exactly what Sherwood needs to prove his football style into the Premier League. Surely, getting Cristian Benteke back to form might be the most essential part in Villa’s survival puzzle.
On the other side of the turf we see a recently weakened Stoke City side. Their mid-week elimination at the hands of Championship side Blackburn Rovers had Mark Hughes admitting that Stoke’s performance was way below par. An injury ridden squad is one of the most important factors that Hughes’ will be facing at Villa Park, however, Sherwood’s arrival might also play a huge role as we all know what happens when a team appoints a new coach. Victory usually follows suite.
Nevertheless, Marc Muniesa, Ryan Shawcross, Bojan Krkic, Johnathan Walters, Erik Pieters, Peter Odemwingie, and Stephen Ireland are all out nursing injuries while Geoof Cameron is suspended.
Although Mark Hughes can be eased by the much needed return of Asmir Begovic to the starting eleven.
Therefore, with Gabriel Agbonlahor’s return to the Villa line up and the immense list of absentees of Stoke’s side we could see Villa’s fight for survival receive a nice push this weekend.
Considering Villa’s renewed motivation and the fact that they are playing at home vs a Stoke side that is missing most of their star players, taking Villa at odds of 2.70 looks increasingly profitable. However, for people that prefer to be more on the safer side, giving Villa a goal through Handicap at odds 1.42 could be the safer choice.