A Long Way to Go?
“There is a long way to go, so everybody has to believe and we have to get through this period,” said Tyrone Mings, doing his club press duty earlier in the week. It was the kind of sentiment that seemed to reflect a rather casual approach at times by the team in the four restart games, we’ve witnessed so far.
With the team only collecting seven wins in 32 outings so far this season, you’d think they’d have to drastically improve that win ratio of 22% up to at least 50% in the remaining six games to have any chance of survival.
Villa’s Head Coach Dean Smith also reiterated his belief this week that Villa wouldn’t get relegated.
It’s hard to think what evidence that is based on exactly. Certainly it’s far from the current mood of pundits and fans alike, who have both commented to the theme that Villa seem to be sleep walking to relegation.
Time is certainly not on Mings or Smith’s side, the reality is that a result or two against Liverpool and Manchester United is of great urgency now.
Post-match interview excuses of Liverpool being Champions and United being in-form and chasing European, will be worthless, if there’s no extra points on the board for Villa.
Mings talked up the “great belief in the dressing room”, but Villa supporters are not fooled by the lack of bite in this Villa dog some far. Especially after witnessing the surrendering and losing performance to Chelsea.
Semblance of Hope?
That said, the players can take heart from their previous league performances against both Liverpool and Manchester United. This time against Liverpool, they’ll have Jack Grealish, who missed the 2-1 injury-time defeat at Villa Park. While the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford was one of Villa’s best performances of the season.
So why do Villa desperately need something from Liverpool and/or United?
Well, in short, failure to do so would mean Villa could be as good as done. This week is a great opportunity for their rivals to put some more points on the board to cut Villa adrift.
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MOMS was hoping that Norwich City would have made more of a fight for survival since the restart, as they could have pegged Villa’s relegation rivals back. The Canaries though have capitulated and now given up on the Premier League, further evidenced with a home loss against Brighton this weekend. Their next two games though are against the very two teams Villa have to finish above at least one of, to have any chance of surviving.
Tuesday 7th July – Watford vs Norwich City
Saturday 11th July – Norwich vs West Ham United
Before West Ham play Norwich on the 11th July, they face two teams in Newcastle (away) and Burnley (h), who both have nothing to play for this season. Three or four points across those games and then a win over Norwich, and the Hammers could pretty much secured their place in the Premier League next season.
Meanwhile, Nigel Pearson will see Watford at home to Newcastle, after they first entertain Norwich. So you’d fancy them for three or four points, even if they lose against Chelsea before those two games are played.
Potential Cut Off
If Villa failed to pick up points against Liverpool or United, they could be cut off by a swing of at least two results, which would be a big ask to pull around within a four game span. It could be worse, as West Ham would be seven points clear of Villa with just four points from their next three games.
If Villa failed to then beat Crystal Palace on the 12th July, when both West Ham and Watford face each other on the 17th July, a lacklustre ‘tactical’ draw could suit both, no matter what Villa can pull off the night before at Goodison.
It’s already hard to see a way out the situation for Villa, but any points from their next two big games would not only keep them alive, but provide a huge boast to the team’s confidence in the final straight.
It’s just a shame we all can’t be there in person, to help the team out.