Tim Sherwood is yet to complete a full season in management, but he has seen a dugout dweller’s worst nightmare come true more than once in his short career.
When in charge of Tottenham he lost twice to north London nemesis Arsenal without scoring, suffered a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of another arch rival in Chelsea and saw Manchester City slam five past his porous defence when he had hoped home advantage might do his side a favour.
Then at Aston Villa he was trounced 4-0 in the FA Cup final by the same adversary who caused him ample derby woe in his previous role.
A return to Spurs, the club who had sacked him the previous summer, laced Sherwood’s big-club inflicted black cloud with the thinnest of silver linings, with his Villa troops running out 1-0 winners, but that aside, it’s been almost incessant misery for the former Premier League champion when pitting wits against the tacticians of elite opposition.
Overall, his record against big-six outfits stands at P: 11, W: 3, D: 0, L: 8, GF: 11, GA: 23.
This will make very good reading for Manchester United fans, who travel to Villa Park, a venue where the 13-time Premier League kings have surrendered maximum points just twice in Premier League history, expecting to claim the laurels.
A price of 67/100 says they won’t have much trouble against hosts available at a price approaching 6/1, though the visitors best be warned, they are one of the three top guns Sherwood has been able to stifle.
The 2-1 victory he masterminded at Old Trafford when in charge of the Lilywhites has mitigation attached in the sense that it came amidst the tumultuous David Moyes period, where talk of in-fighting between the coach and star players underlined the Red Devils’ poor form.
Nevertheless, Spurs’ record at the ground prior to Sherwood’s streak-snapping win was dreadful, losing nine of 11 visits in all competitions.
Since Sherwood left, normal service has been resumed, with Mauricio Pochettino’s Lilywhites enduring two losses at Old Trafford from as many trips and drawing blanks in the process.
Villa Park is a venue United fans travel to safe in the knowledge a win is on the way, a similar pre-match ritual to the one adopted when Spurs are in town.
Sherwood had the know-how to dry up that particular point well and if his blueprint is as bulletproof as he hopes, his Villa side may be worth a double-chance punt to avoid defeat here at 6/5.