The permutations of Aston Villa’s relegation situation
Most people are taking it for granted that QPR and Reading are gonnas, but this weekend they could leave Villa with some parting gifts.
QPR vs Stoke
Norwich vs Reading
While a QPR win will offer them their last hope of survival, it’ll also put Stoke in the relegation mixer big time and won’t make Villa fans feel so bad if no points are picked up on Monday night at Old Trafford. Norwich’s home game is a key, key game to whether they’ll be pulled into a relegation fight proper. It’s arguably their easiest game left. Lose it and their confidence will wobble big time.
Monday Night Blues?
With Villa’s next two games being played on Monday nights, it will see them playing catch-up and facing the extra pressure of potentially being in the relegation zone before kick-off. Wigan will have played twice before Villa travel to United. If Villa fail to pick up anything at Old Trafford, then they’ll probably be in the bottom three before they face Sunderland, in what will be the most important game at Villa Park this season.
Six-pointer do-or-die Tournament
Well, we all know about the old-style western shoot-out that awaits Villa at the end of the season away at Wigan; a game potentially bigger to Wigan than their FA Cup final. But these following four games will be crucial to shaping whose fans will have squeaky bums come the last day of the season.
It’s like a mini-tournament in itself between Villa, Norwich, Stoke and Sunderland. If a team wins their two games, then they should be safe…
Weekend 27th-29th April 2013
Stoke vs Norwich
Aston Villa vs Sunderland
Weekend 4th to 6th May 2013
Norwich vs Aston Villa
Sunderland vs Stoke
Goal difference will not save Villa.
For Villa’s goal difference to come into play it would take some pretty freakish results. First off, for it to matter, it would mean Villa would have lost another game or two, which can only make it even worse. Unless teams take some serious beatings the only team that’ll be in the ballpark of Villa’s goal difference is Wigan. Yet again, Wigan would have to take a beating or two and Villa would need a decent win for a swing in Villa’s favour to happen.
The more pessimistic of fans look at Villa’s fixtures against Manchester United and Chelsea as zero-point encounters. Think again. There’s a chance that if Wigan beat Villa on the last day, even 40 points (if Villa beat Sunderland and Norwich) might not be enough to survive. Even just a hard-earned point against either of the top four teams could be the most important of the season.
Last day drama
I remember last time Villa got relegated in 1986/87, with a few games to go, there was a sense of inevitable doom. Indeed, Villa lost five out of their last six games. If fans are honest, when relegation came, it was akin to being put out of our misery.
This time, the stakes are much higher. The current team doesn’t need a reshuffle, it’s being rebuilt. It just needs time. Survive and next season gets interesting. Drop to the Championship and who knows what will happen. The team will certainly lose a few key components of any ‘bright future’. If Villa don’t win at least two of their next four games, it’s pretty certain the last day of the season will decide their fate. What they don’t want to happen is to obviously be in the relegation zone going into the game or just one place above Wigan, were a Wigan win will condemn them executioner-style to the Championship. It would be good to have another one or two teams needing last day results to give us some ‘get out of jail’ potential. Remember when we lost on the last day in 1981, but it still turned out nice?
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