With Villa all but safe, Paul Lambert needs the points the most
There’s an increasing desperation amongst a small section of Villa fans predicting that their club will now get relegated. Four straight losses certainly adds fuel to the fire, as does seven league defeats in the last 10 games.
Is prospect of Aston Villa relegation realistic? No. Is Villa relegation still possible? Yes. One more win out of the remaining five games would as good as confirm safety.
Analysing the fixture lists of the teams in the relegation picture, MOMS concludes that there’s a strong possibility that Villa can survive without picking up another single point. Yes, this season, it maybe possible to survive on 34 points. Whether Paul Lambert would survive after accruing such a meagre points total is unlikely and it’s hard to find any mitigating circumstances to support him staying on if he lost 11 out of his last 14 games.
Currently Lambert’s record over two seasons is one point less than Chris Hughton’s total and Norwich recently declared that wasn’t good enough for them.
Any sub-40 point total would leave the Villa boss on severally thin ice. Even the most loyal Villa away fans turned on him at the end of the Palace game, so every win now is personally vital to him.
Below we look at the teams most likely to drop, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea are still very much in the mix, as they are both currently below Villa. They’ll add another buffer to Villa avoiding the drop, but you would expect them to pick up another point or two at least. For now, lets concentrate on the current bottom four.
How the relegation candidates are shaping up
Norwich – 17th on 32 points
Despite Norwich City’s new boss Neil Adams insisting his team’s match against Fulham wasn’t a relegation decider, it pretty much was. A win would have taken them above Villa, but now Norwich face the toughest run-in of all the teams in contention for relegation.
Man United (a)
Whether they can get any points out of that line-up of fixtures is debatable. If they needed a result against Arsenal on the last day though, it wouldn’t be out of the question.
Predicted Final Points: 33
Sunderland – 20th on 25 points
Sunderland’s cup exploits have finally caught up with them. While Poyet’s team are capable on their day their fixture list serves up a real mission impossible. It’s hard to see them getting anything from their next two games and it could be game over already after that.
Man City (h)
Man United (a)
West Brom (h)
They would be thankful to still be in with a chance of survival with two games to play, when a double-win is not out of the realms of impossibility. They would certainly have to win all three home games against relegation rivals to stand a chance on 34 points, but would probably still need to take a point or two off Chelsea and the Manchester clubs to have any realistic chance.
Predicted Final Points: 30
Fulham -18th on 30 points
Magath promised to keep Fulham in the Premier League and survival is very much in their hands after key wins against Villa and Norwich. After an away trip to an indifferent Spurs team, they face three games against teams that will be safe and very much thinking about their summer holidays.
Crystal Palace (h)
Predicted Final Points: 36/37
Cardiff City – 19th on 29 points
A massive win away at the Saints would have lifted both spirits and hope for Solskjaer’s team. They remain perhaps the most unpredictable of the bottom teams with three games remaining that they could equally win or lose, without much of a surprise. Their final game against Chelsea means they’ll probably have to take care of business before the last day and they would need two wins at least beforehand to still be in with a shout of retaining their top-flight status
Predicted Final Points: 34
In the final analysis, in terms of Villa and their manager, if the unthinkable fate of relegation is avoided, then it maybe a case of how they retain their top-flight status that will determine the type of climate Villa Park will experience during the summer. One thing is for sure though, it’s going to be a hot one for Paul Lambert. UTV