Sherwood’s Villans still alive in ruthless relegation battle
Aston Villa climbed out of the Premier League’s relegation zone, after an injury-time Christian Benteke penalty secured a vital 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park.
Tim Sherwood’s Villans, now 6/4 with Coral to be relegated, were sent on their way by Gabriel Agbonlahor’s first goal in 14 league games, with their towering target man Benteke then coolly slotting home his last-gasp spot-kick following a Saido Berahino equaliser.
Villa’s crucial triumph over the Baggies was Sherwood’s maiden win as manager, since taking over from THE recently sacked Paul Lambert in February.
Former Tottenham boss Sherwood was ecstatic with his team’s performance at home, as their brilliant Belgian Benteke gifted the hosts with a change of fortunes, by claiming three points with his 94th minute winner.
“When I left home my wife said she’d done the Euro lottery with a £54m jackpot, but I said I’d take three points all the way,” said Sherwood. “We have improved every game and that was our best performance.”
Sherwood’s relegation-battlers are now three points ahead of 18th-placed QPR, who have to travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal on Wednesday, as well as having another game in hand on Villa.
However, Villa’s first league triumph since December 7th has crucially lifted them two places up the table and out of the drop zone, with 10 games still remaining this season.
The Villans were dramatically dispatched by Stoke City in Sherwood’s first official game in charge last month, and in an identical fashion to their own latest win, as Victor Moses fired home a late penalty to earn a 2-1 coup for the Potters.
However, it was Sherwood’s men who prevailed this time out, after being awarded their first penalty since January last year.
“We have improved every game and that was our best performance,” continued Sherwood. “It was a magnificent feeling. It was a sickener when we lost in the last minute against Stoke and it’s a much nicer feeling to be on the other side.”
Villa, who managed more shots in their win over Tony Pulis’ Baggies than in any Premier League game since May 2014, will now hope to climb further away from danger, with league games against fellow strugglers Sunderland and Garry Monk’s Swansea City up next this month.
“We have got a group that is not really suited for a relegation battle. The old-fashioned way is to battle but we have to play as if we are not in a relegation battle and pass the ball and move,” added Sherwood. “If we go down we go down fighting.”
Although, before the West Midlands outfit continue their scrap to avoid the dreaded drop, Sherwood will first lead his side out for an FA Cup quarter-final encounter with familiar opponents West Brom, with the confident coach claiming he will definitely not be fielding a weakened side.
The Villans are 12/1 to cause an upset by lifting this year’s FA Cup trophy at Wembley.