A lot of people think we have to win this because it's a local derby. I think we have to win it for other reasons and I also think this game is just as big as the one next Tuesday. But Tim Sherwood has found himself in a place where going to Crystal Palace and Leicester are his excuses.
And if you find yourself in that place you've got to man up and accept that there will be critics, but I think we'll win today. But when we do, it's job done and we move on, there is no optimism or bullshit belief that Sherwood has turned the corner. He has to win three in a row before we can start thinking remotely like that. And he can't come out like a boy that has just been given the keys to the sweet shop.
So, my opinion on the state of the derby and Tim Sherwood out of the way, how are we going to win today?
West Brom at Villa Park
It's an FA Cup final for the Clowns next Tuesday, but West Brom are a different kettle of fish. West Brom are an established Premier League side and they've got a manager that knows how to grind out results. And even though Tim Sherwood likes to beat Tony Pulis (as Aston Villa manager), there is more to it than just the front foot.
Derbies are good games to be involved in. I hear a lot of managers say it's just another game. It's not. It's a lot more than that - local pride and bragging rights. We need to make sure we do it for our fans and for ourselves. We know West Brom will come and be hard to break down. We'll have to attack. My philosophy is always to win and be on the front foot. We haven't got what we deserve in games so far. Our points total doesn't reflect the way we've played.
You all know I like one side of Tim Sherwood. But it's not the side that said those words above. Local pride is at stake sure, but it is just a game and I know I'm picking at straws now, but it just feels like as if most managers say what most supporters want to hear these days so they stay in the job longer. Most of what he's said there is the same as he'll say most weeks.
And I hope he's learnt this now, you can't always be on the front foot. Football isn't about that and most people know this. The best managers in the world will tell you that you have to slow down sometimes and you have to take control of the ball and match. Knowing when to do that is often the difference between a good manager and a very good manager. Tim is manager at the moment as he's done nothing to suggest he is even a good manager.
But we're not going to win this game by attacking. We'll win this game by beating Tony Pulis and the positive is that Sherwood has done it twice already.
But we also need some players to play today and the important one for me is Jack Grealish. We've seen a lot of players with potential not come good at Aston Villa and we all hope Grealish isn't just another one of those, but there is just a bit of me that thinks Jack Grealish is starting to get a little bit too big for his boots and I think that isn't usually a good thing.
I hope I'm wrong and at the same time I've got no problem with a player discarding a team mate or opposition player, but when they've earned that right and not because of some PR. I don't want Jack to be that player that has his agent email address in his Twitter bio.
And because he's an Aston Villa fan, Jack can earn that right much quicker than anyone else and Jack can become a true Aston Villa legend. It has to start soon though and that means better performances on a more regular basis. Better games means more influence and more goals or creating more chances. And as this is a local derby and because we need a catalyst, this is his opportunity.
Gabby has had loads of chances to show he's the man and he's never really took it. It's now time to pass the torch of blind optimism to someone else.
So we win by not playing like headless chickens for 90 minutes (sorry Tim) and through determination and hopefully with a catalyst. We win by knowing when to take control of the game and by scoring more goals than them. Make it three in a row Tim.
Bet of the day
Right, I feel good about that and as I feel good about that here is my bet of the day. And if you didn't know how my bets are going you can see them here. Based on the returns this season, I'd not follow me today, but here it is. £50 on Aston Villa and Everton. With these odds from Paddypower if those two matches come in, it returns £384.
But remember, I've lost all bets this season, so why should this one be different. Do not follow my lead. Click here and create your own and put it in the comments below. Maybe we'll start tot follow your predictions next week.